Ranchers, Farmers on Big Island Working to Get Water

Ted Matsuda
Ted Matsuda

KOHALA NURSERY, HAWAII (KHNL) - Users of the Kohala Ditch are still working to get the water up and running.

Portions of the ditch collapsed during the earthquakes, cutting off water to ranchers, farmers and nurseries. Ted Matsuda operates one of the largest nursery exporters in the state and says his business is still in survival mode.

Since water flow from the ditch stopped, he has spent about $200,000 dollars to install a brand new individual drip irrigation system to keep his plants alive, and he uses county water which also comes at a cost.

"The cost of the water is, I think, we pay like 25 cents a thousand gallons for agricultural water and the city is closer to $3 a thousand gallons.  So that is a significant difference," said Ted Matsuda of Kohala Nursery.

"We have gotten money from federal sources, state sources, and foundations to actually be at 3 and a half million dollars which was our budget to get the ditch fixed so we are on track with that," said turf farmer, Kirk Eubanks.

Eubanks says plans call for an improved water system built up to seismic standards. He says if all goes according to plan the ditch may be up and running by sometime next year.