Sponsored by:

Comment, blog & share photos

Log in | Become a member
The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Thursday, July 25, 2002

'Ewa water project proposed

By James Gonser
Advertiser Urban Honolulu Writer

The city Board of Water Supply wants to renovate and expand the use of the existing 'Ewa Shaft Pump Station to draw up to 12.15 million gallons a day of drinking water to meet the expected growth in housing and agriculture in the 'Ewa District. The board this week filed an environmental assessment for the project with the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.

To comment on the project

Residents can comment on the 'Ewa Shaft Renovation project by writing by the Aug. 22 deadline to the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, 630 S. Beretania St. Honolulu, HI 96843, attention Andy Okada. Include three copies for the approving agency, the consultant and Office of Environmental Quality Control.

The $5 million project will include removing much of the existing facilities at the shaft site, located off the H-1 Freeway near Kunia Road, and make improvements to equipment, structures and utilities at the station.

"It's a proven large capacity source from when it was one of Oahu Sugar's main water supplies," said Barry Usagawa, head of water resources at the board. "After (Oahu Sugar's) closure, the asset went to Campbell Estate and then we purchased the shaft."

According to the assessment, the water will be used to meet part of the expected need of 35 million gallons a day (mgd) by 2020. After renovations are completed, the shaft will provide about 30 percent of that amount, Usagawa said.

"Eventually, 'Ewa will use 35 mgd of potable water, but my guess is it will be further in the future," Usagawa said. "Right now they use about 15 mgd. For the rest we are looking at seawater desalinization."

The water board is currently preparing an environmental impact statement for its Kalaeloa desalinization plant which is expected to provide about 5 mgd.

"So together with the existing sources, the 'Ewa shaft is our strategy to meet future water needs," he said.

About 1 mgd is currently drawn from the 150-foot deep shaft which was built in the 1930s.

According to the 'Ewa Development Plan, the area population will grow from 43,000 in 1990 to 125,000 by 2020. Nearly 28,000 new homes will be build in a series of master planned communities.

Kat Brady, assistant executive director of the environmental group Life of the Land, said the water board is mandated to provide water for any development and that policy should be changed.

"It's wacky," she said. "We need to be more water conscious. We can't just keep on growing without looking into where the water comes from first."

Life of the Land will review the shaft assessment to see that it is the best use of water.

"I'm glad (the board) won't be stealing water from Waiahole," Brady said. "They were also talking about taking water from the North Shore and that was met with major public resistance."

The proposed work will involve the demolition of existing pump building and electrical room the installing new pumps, sealing of the vertical shaft and pouring a concrete lining for a portion of the adjacent Honouliuli Gulch. The board expects to award a construction contract by the end of the year.

The renovated 'Ewa Shaft will be interconnected with the 228 Water System which includes 18 different wells.

According to the assessment, there is also no evidence of rare and endangered species and no significant historic sites in the project area.