DHHL breaks ground on Kaʻu water system improvements

Improvements by the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands to an existing Hawaii County Department of Water Supply system in Kaʻu will soon connect pastoral homestead lessees in the Kamaʻoa Homestead to water service.

A groundbreaking ceremony was held Friday for the first phase of the project that will ultimately connect the newly built DHHL water storage and distribution system to DWS’ No. 108 system in Kaʻu.


Phase 1 of the DHHL project, being developed by Isemoto Contracting Co., will include the installation of a new 100,000-gallon water reservoir to serve area pastoral homestead lots awarded to Native Hawaiians in the mid-1980s, according to a DHHL press release.

“Partnerships with the county and other agencies are critical in the development of infrastructure for DHHL projects,” Hawaiian Homes Commission Chair William J. Aila Jr. said in the release. “Building these improvements to county standards allows DWS to adopt it into its existing system, a critical piece that is allowing this project to happen.

“A water tank is the first step towards resolving a longstanding obligation DHHL made to Kamaoa lessees. The department’s Acceleration Program provided pasture lots to Native Hawaiians without access to water and placed the responsibility of advocating for future infrastructure improvements in their hands. Today, we take a meaningful step toward delivering access to water for the pastoral lots.”

The $2.7 million Capital Improvement Project is funded by a 2020 appropriation from the state Legislature.

Phases 2 and 3 of the Kaʻu water system project will include work on pressure regulating valves, new water meters, and improvements to South Point Road for future homesteading opportunities.

In March, DHHL broke ground on 125 residential lots in Laʻi ʻOpua Village IV Hema Phase 2 subdivision in Kealakehe, and last month began infrastructure construction on 16 subsistence agricultural lots in Honomu.

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