BWS: Mandatory water restrictions this summer now appear avoidable

Though the water situation may not be critical this summer, BWS is still calling for 10% voluntary conservation.
Published: May. 24, 2022 at 4:56 PM HST|Updated: May. 24, 2022 at 5:59 PM HST
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HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - The Board of Water Supply thinks mandatory water restrictions might be avoidable this summer.

It’s a promising development for residents who were bracing for forced restrictions and developers who were warned their projects could have been delayed by the Navy’s tainted water crisis.

BWS had shut down its Halawa shaft to avoid spreading contamination from the Navy’s fuel tainted Red Hill well.

Now BWS pumps are working harder and getting water from other wells to supply the Aiea-Halawa system.

“We want to stress at this point, based on the Kaamilo wells now suppying Aiea-Halawa, we think we can avoid getting the Aiea-Halawa system into the critical water shortage condition,” BWS Manager and Chief Engineer Ernie Lau told City Council members.

Lau says two weeks ago, BWS started pumping water from its Kaamilo wells to send to he Aiea-Halawa.

“It looks like we are going to be able to weather this summer by keeping our voluntarily conservation request in place with a 10 percent target reduction from our customers,” he added.

The Board of Water Supply sent 17 letters to developers in urban Honolulu warning them that their projects could be delayed because of the Navy’s water crisis, but now those letters will be revised.

“So you are confident that they are going to be able to get their water meters?” councilmember Esther Kiaaina asked.

“Yes,” replied Lau.

As seen on state maps, the fuel contamination in the aquifer is moving.

“Clearly, we are all alarmed,” said Kiaaina.

“What you were looking at was how the fuel contamination plume was moving in the subsurface from May of last year up through April of this year, taking in to account the two spills that happened,” said Erwin Kawata, BWS program administrator.

City Council Chair Tommy Waters added that no amount of fuel in the water is acceptable.

“Agreed,” said Kawata.

“It’s extremely difficult to get out. You can try to pump, but the thing you have to keep in mind is it’s stuck in the rocks,” he added.

The Board of Water Supply says even though the water situation may not be critical this summer, it’s still calling for 10% voluntary conservation.

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