Now Reports

Fukuoka’s Water-Conscious Citizenry

Water: we need it to live, but per capita household water use in Japan almost doubled between the 1960s and the 2000s. The biggest increase has been recorded in the populous urban centers, with each resident using an average of 330 L of water per day (FY2012). The citizens of Fukuoka, however, use 270 L per day, or 60 L less than the daily average for major cities. But why are Fukuokans so water-conscious?

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Geographically, water has always been scarce in Fukuoka. The only rivers in and around the city, which has added more population in step with its growth, are small ones. In 1978, Fukuoka suffered a severe drought, and after a long period without rain, water restrictions were enacted that ended up lasting 287 days. People formed long lines at water trucks, and some residents even moved away due to the drought.

Learning from this experience, Fukuoka City has since promoted water-conscious urban development. The City built storage dams to create new reservoirs, enacted measures to prevent leaks at existing dams, launched an efficient 24-hour water distributions system and began recycling wastewater and rainwater. Finally, in 2005, the Mizutopia desalination plant went into operation. Thanks to the water-consciousness of the citizens, the use of water-saving equipment has spread to many households, and a large number people strive to conserve water on a daily basis.

When another drought struck the city in 1994, there were no major disruptions and no water trucks were dispatched, despite a long period of water restrictions. Fukuoka has received high marks for its waterworks technology and water-saving urban development initiatives and is currently working to transfer its water-efficient technologies to the developing countries of Asia. In Japan, we take clean water for granted, but the next time you turn on the tap in Fukuoka, you might want to take a moment to be thankful for the efforts that have been made.

Originally published by Fukuoka Now Magazine (Jul. 2014)

Art & Culture
Fukuoka City
Published: Jun 27, 2014 / Last Updated: May 30, 2019

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