Menehune Bluffs gets conservation award

  • Dennis Fujimoto / The Garden Island

    Lorne Ogmundson, president of the Menehune Bluffs Association, left, accepts the Conservationist of the Year award from Ed Kawamura Jr. as Bryan Wienand, county Department of Water manager and chief engineer, Rebekah Magers of the Natural Resources Conservation Service, county Board of Water Supply member Kurt Akamine, Jenna Dunn of the USNR, Brad Seymour of Resources Hawaii, John Nelson of the NRCS, Laurie Ho of the BWS, and county Planning Department Director Kaina Hull look on at the DOW offices recently.

LIHUE — The conservation and accounting for thousands of gallons of “unaccounted for” water earned the Menehune Bluffs community the 2019 Conservationist of the Year award that was presented by the East Kauai Soil and Water Conservation District recently.

Facing inexplicably high water bills, Lorne Agmundson, president of the Menehune Bluffs Association, sought the help of Brad Seymour of Resources Hawaii to investigate the reason for the high water bills.

With old water meters it was challenging to determine where possible leaks could be, or if the meters themselves were incorrectly reporting water usage, Seymour said.

“When I got in there, there were more than 36,000 gallons of water per month that was unaccounted for,” Seymour said. “Lorne approved the changing of water meters to smart meters for the community meter as well as for the individual homes.”

The changes allowed remedial action that corrected the “unaccounted for” water.

“Now, they are more accurately able to see how much water each property is using, and are able to track it appropriately,” Seymour said. “Additionally, everything is tracked online so they can find leaks or unaccounted for usage on a daily basis rather than having to wait many months before they could attempt to determine water loss. This system has not only saved them money, they have reduced their waste of water and become more aware of individual water use.”

Menehune Bluffs is located along Hulemalu Road near Menehune Fishpond, overlooking Nawiliwili.

“The Department of Water is proud to continue to honor and support water conservation in our community,” said Jonell Kaohelauli‘i, county DOW spokesperson.

In partnership with the county DOW, the Kauai Soil and Water Conservation Districts continue to recognize individuals and organizations who make water conservation a high priority in the community.

Rebekah Magers, a district assistant for the East and West Kauai Soil and Water Conservation District, said they do not expect a West Kauai SWCD awardee for this year because “many of our cooperators are in the beginning stages of their respective projects.”

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