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Drought advisory

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(CUC) — In anticipation of the coming dry weather months that the CNMI is just beginning to experience, the Commonwealth Utilities Corp. would like to encourage its customers to think ahead and to anticipate your water service needs over the next several months up and into September.

As you know from past years, dry weather will have an impact on the water table and the aquifers CUC relies on to provide water service twenty-four hours a day. CUC has had to establish scheduled water hours in areas where the water supply is depleted from over pumping when rainfall is inconsistent to sustain full supply needs. The islands of the CNMI have experienced this problem for many years and it will not be changing any time soon. As we have done in past years, CUC asks its customers to plan for the following efforts to protect yourselves if and when water restrictions may need to be imposed.

Here is a list of ideas for getting prepared:

• Gather several large containers that can be sealed to secure the chlorinated water from exposure and stored in a dark location out of the direct impact of sunlight. Clean containers before using.

• Gather several cases of bottled water to assure that everyone in your household has something refreshing when access to water is restricted.

• Plan on keeping your bathtub clean in case you decide to use that item as a container to store water for washing at the sink, and/or flushing the toilet.

• Be sure to inspect your water facilities in your home to eliminate any leaks that may wastewater needed for your own use and to avoid spending for water you never get a chance to use.

• Put up shade curtains over your outdoor plants to reduce watering requirements during the hot part of the day.

• If you have large 1,000 to 5,000 gallon outdoor water containers, be sure to fill them early to guarantee a water reserve exists and over the next several months, use at least half the water in those tanks every two months to assure the water remains fresh and doesn't go stagnant and refill accordingly when water is available. You may also use the water in those tanks as a holding tank for your everyday water supply needs.

• If you have a concrete tank for your home, be sure it is cleaned annually prior to the dry weather months and chlorinated to assure it is safe to use.

• If you have a hot water tank, they need to be drained once a year to eliminate the build-up of material that falls out of solution (i.e., calcium, iron, manganese). First, turn off the power supply and the water source. Then drain by attaching a hose to the faucet on bottom side of tank and running it outside to the grass or to the nearest drain. Once drained, turn on the water source and gradually shut the faucet on tank. Allow to fill and then turn on heat source.

• Get the latest information on CUC water services and potential scheduled water interruptions on the CUC website or Facebook page.

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