Volcanic activity in Leilani impacts water supply of surrounding neighborhoods

While fire and fumes continue to threaten large swathes of Leilani Estates, surrounding neighborhoods faced a crisis of water.

The volcanic eruption in Leilani damaged a water main under Pohoiki Road when the sixth volcanic fissure to emerge cut off the water supply to scores of residents east of the subdivision, said Keith Okamoto, manager and chief engineer of the county Department of Water Supply.

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It is currently uncertain what specifically happened to the water main — in most cases, the department would dig to the pipe to learn what the problem is, but for obvious reasons, it is currently not possible to do so for the Pohoiki Road main, Okamoto said. However, he said, the pipe stopped transmitting water to Kapoho and Vacationland.

While many residents of the region rely on water catchment systems instead of municipal water, Okamoto said approximately 250 customers were affected by the loss of service.

An emergency water restriction was ordered Saturday for the subdivisions of Leilani Estates, Kapoho Beach Lots, Lanipuna Gardens, Pohoiki Bay Estates, Green Lake Farm Lots, Vacationland and all customers on Pohoiki and Kalapana Kapoho Beach roads, with residents advised to restrict their water use to health and safety needs only in order to conserve the water remaining in the mains.

Okamoto said the department would construct a temporary bypass pipe that would return water flow to the affected communities. The pipe was completed by Monday evening.

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Several other public water supply options are available. A 4,000-gallon water tank truck was stationed in the Vacationland subdivision. Other public water spigots drawing from water lines north of Leilani Estates are available at Lava Tree State Monument and Nanawale Estates.

Email Michael Brestovansky at mbrestovansky@hawaiitribune-herald.com.

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