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Sunday, September 15, 2002



Gov releases funds
for Big Isle water study

Hawaii County wants to use the cash
to drill an exploratory well


By Rod Thompson
rthompson@starbulletin.com

HILO >> Gov. Ben Cayetano announced yesterday that he has released $500,000 for a study of water development in dry areas at the southern end of the Big Island.

Big Island Mayor Harry Kim, who lobbied the governor for the money, said the actual study will cost about $100,000. Hawaii County expects to go back to the Legislature for permission to use the bulk of the money for an exploratory well.

On paper, all of the money was designated for a study because of the way the authorization was rewritten during the legislative process, Kim said.

In the entire southwest part of the Big Island, the size of Oahu, there is not a single well, Kim said.

Milton Pavao, head of the county Department of Water Supply, added, "We're talking Hookena (South Kona) to South Point." That's a distance of about 40 miles.

The need is especially acute in the Hawaiian Ocean View Estates area where people depend on rain water catchment for their homes. In neighboring Hawaiian Ocean View Ranchos, rainfall dropped to 4.8 inches in all of 1998, said resident Sonja Oberosler.

"Isn't that wonderful," she reacted on hearing that Cayetano released the money. "I'm surprised that it ever happened."

Former Rep. Robert Herkes obtained more than $1 million for a well in the area several years ago, but Cayetano refused to release that money, saying residents knew they were buying property in a dry area.



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