State releases $1.5M for Kaua‘i projects

HONOLULU — Gov. Neil Abercrombie announced Thursday the release of more than $13 million for various Capital Improvement Projects that invest in Hawai‘i’s local agriculture industry and upgrade the state’s water irrigation infrastructure, including $1.5 million for two projects on Kaua‘i.

“As we continue to shift Hawai‘i’s economy to a sustainable foundation, our investment in New Day Work Projects must include upgrading our agricultural and irrigation systems, which is critical to our food security,” Abercrombie said in press release Thursday

Among nine projects identified by Abercrombie’s administration on the press release, there is $1 million for improvements to Hanalei River and $500,000 for improvements to Kekaha Ditch.

“The priority projects being funded will greatly support and expand agriculture in Hawai‘i,” said Russell S. Kokubun, chairperson of the Hawai‘i Board of Agriculture. “Much of the state’s agricultural infrastructure is decades old, and it is important to maintain and upgrade them and keep them in service to Hawai‘i’s farmers, growers and ranchers, now and for the future.”

Projects identified with the help of state Legislators and county officials include:

•  $1 million — Hanalei River, Kaua‘i: Reinforcement of stream bank and construction of a structure to return water flow to the river’s main channel, feeding the Hanalei National Wildlife Reserve;

•  $300,000 — Kekaha Ditch, Kaua‘i: Planning and design for improvements to the Black Pipe Siphon, Pali Wooden Flume and other structures;

•  $4.15 million — Pa’auilo Rendering Plant and Slaughterhouse, Big Island: Funds released to Hawai‘i county for planning, design, construction and equipment for building renovations, infrastructure improvements and equipment replacement to facilitate economic development of the beef industry for the island;

•  $2.5 million — State Irrigation System Reservoir, statewide: Land acquisition, design and construction for safety improvements to irrigation reservoirs, including vegetation removal, embankment lining, and repair and/or replacement of gate valves, spillways, outlet channels, and other features of the system;

•  $1.25 million — Molokai Irrigation System: Planning, design and construction to replace an above-ground concrete flume with an underground pipeline, installation of a new hydropower plant and structural stabilization of an access bridge on Molokai;

•  $1.85 million — Waimanalo Irrigation System, O‘ahu: Design and construction to replace ditch lining, install supervisory control and data acquisition systems, and various other necessary improvements;

•  $1 million — State Agricultural Water Use and Development Plan, statewide: Preparation of a comprehensive statewide plan to inventory irrigation systems throughout the state, including preparation of historic descriptions of original irrigation infrastructure, assessment of current conditions, proposing maintenance/improvements and identification of irrigation sources and water use requirements for long-term waster use projections;

•  $500,000 — Ka’u Irrigation System, Big Island: Planning and design for renovation of the existing water tunnel system in the Ka’u area;

•  $500,000 — Waiahole Water System, O‘ahu: Planning and design for replacement of nearly century-old siphons and related valves.

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