Funding Released to Expand Efforts in Monitoring Water Resources on Hawai‘i Island
Gov. David Ige recently released $2 million in capital improvement project funds to drill a deep monitor well, or DMW, in South Kohala for the Māhukona aquifer system area, which covers the town of Waimea.
This is part of a Commission on Water Resource Management, CWRM, ongoing effort to monitor the health of aquifers statewide. According to a press release from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, data collected from these wells allows for essential observation of long-term changes in the thickness of an aquifer’s freshwater lens. This provides an indicator of drought conditions and expected impacts on groundwater supplies.
Aquifers provide most of the clean drinking water in Hawai‘i.
There isn’t a DMW in the Waimea Hydrologic Unit and the new well is expected to help water managers ensure sustainable drinking water supplies. There are currently only 13 deep monitor wells statewide.
“Given concerns about development, the loss of native forests, and other impacts to the sustainable yield in the Waimea area, a DMW is needed to help us observe and assess current and long-term aquifer conditions and changes in water availability,” stated Katie Roth, the CWRM Hydrologic Planning Program Manager. “This is critical to ensuring sustainability of groundwater resources.”
Sen. Lorraine R. Inouye, who represents Hilo, Hāmākua, Kohala, Waimea, Waikōloa, Kona, said the community has been in need of a deep monitor well for quite some time.
Improving the state’s groundwater resource monitoring capability, Inouye added, is crucial to the ability to track the health of the state’s aquifers.
“Projects, such as the Waimea DMW will go a long way in tracking and protecting Waimea’s groundwater resources,” the senator stated.
CWRM Deputy Director Kaleo Manuel said the well will also help monitor data in regards to current and long-term management resources.
The project, which will be handled by the state, is expected to start in March 2023 with design work to be completed by June 2023 and construction of the well within one year.
“By establishing this deep monitoring well in the Waimea aquifer, we are filling a significant data gap,” said State Representative David Tarnas. “With this new deep monitoring well, the water managers at DLNR’s Commission on Water Resource Management can gather the necessary information to be able to manage the use of this aquifer and ensure a sustainable drinking water supply. This is a very positive development for all residents in our region.”