Next year will mark the 100th anniversary of the founding of Fukuoka City’s waterworks system. On March 1, 1923, after the completion of water supply facilities in Fukuoka City, including the Magaribuchi Dam and Hirao Water Treatment Plant (now the Fukuoka City Botanical Garden), the city began supplying water to approximately 35,000 people. Since tap water was something new to the citizens at that time, the City used flyers and other media to advertise that it would help prevent diseases like cholera and typhus as part of its effort to spread the word about the safety and convenience of tap water.
After this, Fukuoka City’s population grew rapidly. Fukuoka always had scarce water resources as there were no class A rivers within the city limits, and even though it built dams, the city could not keep up with the increase in population and suffered major droughts in 1978 and 1994. The drought of 1978, in particular, resulted in 287 days of water rationing. This led Fukuoka City to set a goal of becoming a water-saving city.
Fukuoka City has achieved a leakage rate of 2.0%, one of the lowest in the world, with a 24-hour control system that ensures the effective use of tap water. Citizens have also become more conscious about water conservation; each citizen uses approximately 200 liters of water per day— the lowest level for a city of Fukuoka’s size. In 1983, the city began drawing water from the Chikugo River, Kyushu’s largest river, and other efforts have been undertaken to secure water sources from outside the city.
In 2005, the Uminonakamichi Nata Seawater Desalination Center (Mamizu Pier) was completed. It is the largest seawater desalination facility in Japan, capable of producing up to 50,000 m3 of water per day, and it is one way that Fukuoka City works to secure a stable supply of water. Meanwhile, the Gokayama Dam, completed in 2021, was the first dam in Japan designed to combat drought. It boasts the largest water storage capacity in Fukuoka Prefecture and is expected to contribute to a stable supply of water for years to come.