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  • Writer's pictureHawai'i House Democrats


HAWAI‘I COUNTY Representative David A. Tarnas is happy to share that $1,500,000 in capital improvement project funds has been released by Governor Josh Green for the development of the ‘Upolu Well, according to a letter addressed to Rep. Tarnas dated September 5, 2023. This release by the Governor will fund improvements to the water well to support agriculture in North Kohala, Hawai‘i. The funds were recently appropriated by the Legislature and will finance the construction of the well pumping system and storage tank.

"The Kohala community has made it clear that providing affordable agricultural water to producers in Kohala is a top priority," said Rep. David A. Tarnas. "Making the improvements to this former USGS exploratory well to bring it online as a production well for agricultural water supply is an important milestone. Bringing this well to production capacity should help to provide agricultural water to the producers in the surrounding area. While this well alone won't be able to supply everyone who needs and wants irrigation water, it is an important part of the overall strategy to support Kohala's sustainable agricultural economy. I am grateful to the Department of Land and Natural Resources and the Department of Agriculture for working to support our Kohala farmers."

The Department of Land Natural Resources (DLNR) is currently overseeing the planning and construction of the ‘Upolu Well project. The Department has already hired an engineering consultant for project planning and design and has collaborated with the Department of Agriculture (DOA) on design reviews. DLNR has received bids on the construction contract and will soon be making the decision to award the contract. Once the contractor is selected and the contract is finalized, permits from the County are needed to be secured in order to proceed.

When completed, DLNR plans on transferring ownership of the pumping system and storage tank to DOA to manage operations. Once it is online, the well will pump water through the current distribution piping, which extends to the Cloverleaf Dairy property line. The well will then be capable of providing affordable irrigation water to several farms, dairies, and ranches in North Kohala, continuing the region's tradition as an agricultural center and supporting our local agriculture.



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