DLNR News Release-Waimea Getting Essential New Tool to Monitor Sustainable Drinking Water Supplies

Posted on Sep 12, 2022 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

(HONOLULU) – With $2 million in State Capital Improvement Projects (CIP) funding approved, a project to drill a new Deep Monitor Well (DMW) in Waimea, on Hawai‘i Island is getting underway.

This is part of a Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) ongoing effort to monitor the health of aquifers statewide. Data collected from DMWs allows for essential observation of long-term changes in the thickness of an aquifer’s freshwater lens. This provides an indicator of drought conditions and expected impacts on groundwater supplies. Aquifers provide most of the clean drinking water in Hawai‘i.

CWRM Deputy Director Kaleo Manuel said, “Climate change will impact water security in this region and the other areas throughout the state that are severely impacted by drought and susceptible to wildfires. This monitoring well will help add another data set to inform both current and long-term management of water resources.”

The current CWRM Deep Monitor Well network has limited geographic coverage with only 13 wells around the state. There isn’t a DMW in the Waimea Hydrologic Unit and the new well is expected to help water managers ensure sustainable drinking water supplies.

Katie Roth, the CWRM Hydrologic Planning Program Manager, explained, “Given concerns about development, the loss of native forests, and other impacts to the sustainable yield in the Waimea area, a DMW is needed to help us observe and assess current and long-term aquifer conditions and changes in water availability. This is critical to ensuring sustainability of groundwater resources.”

Sen. Lorraine Inouye commented, “Waimea, the Māhukona aquifer system area, has needed a new deep monitor well for quite some time. Improving the State’s groundwater resource monitoring capability is crucial to ensure that we can reliably track the health of our aquifers. Projects, such as the Waimea DMW will go a long way in tracking and protecting Waimea’s groundwater resources.”  

“By establishing this deep monitoring well in the Waimea aquifer, we are filling a significant data gap,” said State Representative David Tarnas. “With this new deep monitoring well, the water managers at DLNR’s Commission on Water Resource Management can gather the necessary information to be able to manage the use of this aquifer and ensure a sustainable drinking water supply. This is a very positive development for all residents in our region.”

The project is scheduled to start in March 2023, with engineers working on planning and permitting. Design of the Waimea DMW is expected to be completed by June of next year, with construction targeted for completion in June 2024.  

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Media Contact: 

Dan Dennison

Senior Communications Manager

Hawaii Dept. of Land and Natural Resources

(808) 587-0396

[email protected]