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10,656 households on Sado Island lose water after pipes burst due to cold

SADO, Niigata -- Water supplies to 10,656 households, more than 40 percent of all homes in this city, were cut on Jan. 29 due to pipe ruptures because of the extreme cold.

    Upon request from Niigata Gov. Ryuichi Yoneyama on Jan. 29, Ground Self-Defense Force (GSDF) personnel were dispatched to the region on a disaster relief mission and are providing water to residents. There are no immediate prospects for full restoration of water supplies as damage has spread to almost all areas of the island in the Sea of Japan.

    According to the city, water supplies were cut in Ryotsu, Aikawa, Sawata and other districts. Twenty-five of the 36 municipal elementary and junior high schools on the island were forced to temporarily suspend classes.

    GSDF troops based in the Niigata prefectural cities of Shibata and Joetsu as well as those from Gunma and Nagano prefectures sent water by sea to the island. The Sado Municipal Government opened water points at 11 locations including the municipal main office.

    As for the cause of the water cuts, the local government explained that piped water froze due to the severe cold, which marked minus 6.6 degrees Celsius in the city's Akitsu district on Jan. 24, and the expansion of ice ruptured the water pipes. Damage began to emerge at many places in the city around the evening of Jan. 28.

    Elementary and junior high schools on the island were to resume classes on Jan. 30 by using water stored at each school.

    Meanwhile, water supply cuts due to ruptured pipes also occurred in the city of Niigata's Nishikan Ward and the prefectural cities of Itoigawa and Murakami.

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