2013/03/11
The water’s here! It’s here! The water’s here!!!
Thank you for everyone from Hokkaido to Kumamoto for coming by water tunkers

Riko Sakai| 4th year, Kadonowaki Elementary School

The water’s here! It’s here! The water’s here!!!

The Hebita Purification Plant can produce enough water to fill 135 25-meter swimming pools and sends water to Ishinomaki and Higashi Matsushima area. Among the purification plants in Ishinomaki city this one received the worst damage.

The earthquake made the ground uneven and water seeped out. After that there were power cuts and machinery stopped working. The plant couldn’t produce any water. To make matters worse, the ground subsided and liquefied which destroyed the supporting columns and walls. Because of this, water couldn’t be sent to all the houses. A total of about 1700km of water pipelines had to be inspected because the water pipes beneath the ground had also broken. That's roughly the distance of the train line from Ishinomaki to Kyushu. The first places to have electricity restored still needed to wait until 3 days after the earthquake. Then everyone worked day and night to produce clean water. The Ishinomaki Red Cross Hospital was the first place the water was sent to.

A water supply vehicle delivered water to people who lived in areas with no running water. From March 13th to July 1st, the day following the earthquake, water supply vehicles came from all over Japan, from Hokkaido to Kumamoto. Even though there were about 350 designated evacuation centers, the tsunami rendered many of them unusable so water had to be delivered all over Ishinomaki. ”

In areas where people are living now, the water supply has been fully restored. However, some places in Kadonowaki, Minamihama and the Kama region still do not have running water. Water purification plants in Kitakami and Ogatsu were swallowed by the tsunami and became unusable. According to the Ishinomaki and East Matsushima reconstruction plans, these areas will be restored in the days ahead.

It’s a good idea for everyone to keep a 3-day supply of water in plastic bottles (3 litres per person per day). As tap water can be contaminated by chlorine, once opened the water should be consumed within 3 days. If any water is left over it can be used for flushing toilets and other domestic purposes. Last time drinking water was delivered as emergency aid, but there was a shortage of water for domestic uses. You can save the water in baths, kettles and pots. In the high school where we sheltered, I remember we all worked together using buckets, to deliver water from the swimming pool to the toilets.

On April 1st, 3 weeks after the disaster, water came out from the tap at my grandad’s where we were sheltered. I felt so relieved and thought we could go back to the normal life we had before. My younger brother, my mum and I sang and danced with joy. “The water’s here! It’s here! The water’s here!” My younger brother drew a picture of that day.