Hawaii Islanders May Have More Water By Summer

KOHALA, HAWAII (KHNL) -- North Kohala residents hope to fix a broken water source by this summer. They met recently with State Civil Defense officials, who are coordinating the effort, and set a target date of June 11, Kamehameha Day. That date is an important one in the state, especially Kohala, because Kamehameha the Great was born in that town.

Here's a big tool in reaching their goal: this 7,200 pound tractor, dangling from a National Guard Chinook helicopter. It was airlifted through the valley, and into the Honokane nui canyon. This happened in November 2007.

It's a tricky flight. You can see how steep the valley walls are. Guardsmen and local residents are using the tractor to fix a crucial flume, broken in the October 2006 earthquake. The ditch serves 100 Kohala ranchers and farmers.

The Honokane Nui portion of the ditch was opened on June 11, 1906. According to one historical source, "At the opening ceremonies, Mrs. Samuel Parker set the waters of Honokane flowing to the Kohala, Niuli`i, Halawa, Hawi, and Union mills with these words, 'I christen thee Kohala Ditch. May you bring blessings, happiness, and prosperity to the people of Kohala'."