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Tokyo, 5 prefectures cut water intake by 10%.

SAITAMA, Japan, Aug. 10 Kyodo

Hot, dry weather has forced Tokyo and five neighboring prefectures to start cutting their water intake by 10% from 10 a.m. Friday due to decreased water levels at eight dams on the upper Tone River, the land ministry said.

It is the first summer water restriction involving the Tone River system in five years since a drought in August 1996. It affects Tokyo, Saitama, Ibaraki, Tochigi, Gunma and Chiba prefectures, the Land, Infrastructure and Transport Ministry said.

The ministry said the cut will be increased in the latter half of next week if there is a further decrease in water levels due to lack of rain.

The eight dams, including the Yagisawa Dam in Minakami, Gunma, had impounded a total of roughly 174.87 million tons of water as of Friday, the ministry said, adding their reservoirs are at an average 51% of capacity, down from the usual summer level of 81%.

In particular, the Yagisawa Dam, which is the largest of the eight, has seen its reservoir level drop to 30%, or about 34.42 million tons, and its water level is 22 meters below capacity.

With the water intake restriction in place, local governments will limit water flowing into water purification plants, but that will not directly affect households in the form of reduced tap pressure, it said.

The Tone River, which flows through eastern Japan's Kanto region, is the second-longest river in Japan and has the largest drainage basin. It is an important source for the drinking and industrial water needs of the metropolitan Tokyo area.
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Publication:Japan Weekly Monitor
Date:Aug 13, 2001
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