LIHUE — In an island environment, we all know how important it is to conserve water, said Peter Tausend of the West Kauai Soil and Water Conservation District.
Tausend was joined by Ed Kawamura Jr. on Wednesday in presenting the Outstanding Water Conservationist Awards at the Department of Water’s new building in Pua Loke.
The awards have been presented annually to individuals or business organizations that have done an outstanding effort at conserving water resources.
This year’s recipients include McBryde Resources from the West Kauai Soil and Water Conservation District, and Green Enterprises, doing business as Kauai Organic Farms from the East Kauai Soil and Water Conservation District.
“At home, changes in habits can result in water savings without spending money,” Tausend said. “In some instances, an investment can take conservation to another level, such as replacing older high-flow bathroom fixtures with newer, lower flow varieties.”
Tausend said this applies to business where McBryde Resources, a subsidiary of Alexander & Baldwin, collects and delivers water on behalf of agricultural users on Kauai’s south shore and generates renewable hydroelectric and solar photovoltaic power.
McBryde Resources made a multi-million dollar investment in its Alexander Reservoir irrigation system that dates back nearly a century, and providing water to sugar, pineapple, coffee, and diversified agricultural operations from Eleele to Lawai as well as generating clean, renewable hydropower.
The investment was targeted at increasing system efficiency and focused on three key areas, including upgrading the Kalaheo hydroelectric turbine and generator to a higher efficiency, dual-nozzle system which allows McBryde to generate up to 30 percent more energy for each gallon of water that passes through the system.
The aging Kalaheo penstock which delivers water from the Alexander Reservoir to the Kalaheo hydro system was replaced, minimizing overall system water loss and increasing delivery efficiency.
McBryde also upgraded the Alexander Dam outlet works to provide greater flow control and enabling McBryde to deliver exactly the amount required by system users.
“Over the past few years, the aging steel penstock that had been installed in the late 1950s had become increasingly unreliable with multiple outages during the course of the year,” said Dan Sargent, McBryde Resources vice president and general manager. “This resulted both in the loss of water and the interruption of delivery to our key users, such as Kauai Coffee Company. The new penstock, with a life expectancy of 60 to 80 years, enables us to increase the reliability of delivery to our agricultural users while increasing our generation of renewable energy — all with the same amount of water.”