Increasing efficiency

HANAMAULU — The water department is planning a $3.5 million project to make the dispersal of water from the Kapaia Reservoir more efficient.

The County of Kauai, the Department of Water and Grove Farm are funding the installation of 9,000 feet of new pipe; a start date for the project has yet to be set.

Currently, a draft environmental assessment on the project is being created.

“We’re not increasing the capacity of the plant, it’s just the pipe and we’re moving water around more efficiently,” said Kirk Saike, manager and chief engineer for the Kauai Board of Water Supply.

The plan is to install the 18-inch transmission pipeline to further disperse the 3 million daily gallons that come out of the reservoir due to increased demand.

The water from that reservoir supplies people in Lihue, Puhi, Hanamaulu, Wailua and parts of Kapaa. It’s the growth in those areas that’s the motivation for the project.

“This area keeps growing and it’s a dynamic system,” Saike said.

The new pipeline is needed in the opinion of experts at the water department, but it’s also a requirement for the Kohea Loa housing development in the Hanamaulu triangle.

“Whether you’re doing one house or a hundred homes, you have to sit down with us and do a water master plan,” Saike said. “As part of that process, the transmission lines were determined to be too small for distributing water throughout the Lihue area.”

With that determination made, the next decision to be made was how to install the new pipeline. There were two options and the choice was made to go with the less invasive option.

Instead of digging up the existing transmission line under Kuhio Highway, the entities decided to use a private cane haul road, connect to the residential Ehiku Street, and then go down Ehiku and reconnect to Kuhio Highway.

That creates a loop, which also provides different options for rerouting water when there are problems with the transmission line.

“It’s a little bit more flexibity for us,” Saike said.

Construction on the project, once it gets under way, is expected to take nine months and there will be some of the typical dust and noise associated with heavy equipment.

But the impact will be on fewer people than if the majority of the construction were occurring along Kuhio Highway.

“This way we don’t bother as many people and we’re improving the transmission of water capabilities,” Saike said. “We’re not increasing the capacity of the plant and we’re not drilling into the mountain.”

Kimberly Tamaoka, spokeswoman for the water department, said a draft EA has already been drawn up on the project, but it’s being resubmitted to allow for more comment time.

People with questions and comments should email Bryan Wienand at bwienand@kauaiwater.org, or call (808) 245-5449.

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