County receives $15.5M for water systems, capital improvements

LIHU‘E — The state allocated the county $15.5 million for a breadth of projects across the island, including capital improvements and water systems.

The money was approprited by the state Legislature this year. The County Council accepted these funds last Wednesday.

To fix the Kalaheo-Lawa‘i-‘Oma‘o water system, the state appropriated $9.6 million for design, equipment and construction. The county matched 20% of those funds.

Councilmember Felicia Cowden said she was content to see the funds, especially money going toward the county Department of Water. “I’m really happy this state money is still coming through and we will not be interrupted despite the fact that revenue is down,” Cowden said. “This has all been committed before.”

Also on the list of capital improvements is an Anahola sports complex, which some councilmembers were unaware of. The state appropriated $500,000 for this project.

County Managing Director Michael Dahilig said that while the county has some assets in the Anahola area (approximately 50 acres), that money will be used for planning purposes. “It definitely would not cover any large vertical construction at this point,” Dahilig said.

The county had been working with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands. DHHL currently has an Anahola Town Center or “Anahola Bubble” conceptual land-use plan from 2009. Working with the community, there are proposed plans for sustainable-energy projects, a trailhead for a park, police substation and alternate access to Pi‘ilani Mai Ke Kai, for example.

Other appropriations include $1.5 million for Hanapepe Stadium to construct a ticket booth, food booth and bathrooms; and $2.1 million for the Kilauea Neighborhood Center gymnasium to upgrade the gym to be either useful as a category 3 or 4 hurricane shelter.

Additionally, the DOW will receive funds for the Kilauea Water System ($1.56 million) and for the Waimea-Kekaha Water System ($240,000), which the department will allocate as appropriate, Dahilig said.

Gov. David Ige, in a July 7 letter to Senate President Ron Kouchi and House Speaker Scott Saiki, said that some of the language in this state bill was “too vague and does not ensure fulfillment of the Legislature’s intent.”

Ige did not sign the bill, but allowed it to become law this year.


Sabrina Bodon, public safety and government reporter, can be reached at 245-0441 or

  1. jake October 27, 2020 7:50 am Reply

    Ok, now take away at least half of this money to cover favors, kickbacks, dispersal to relatives, and that’s the actual operating budget.

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