Lingle releases $6M for Big Isle water
OCEAN VIEW, Hawaii » Gov. Linda Lingle has released $6 million for the design and construction of a water system for Hawaiian Ocean View Estates on the Big Island, ending years of uncertainty and political backbiting.
Ocean View, in a 40-mile-long area without water wells near the south end of the Big Island, and neighboring communities depend on rain water collected from rooftops.
A county study found homes receive the equivalent of about 19 gallons of water per day per household from rain, but they need about 60 gallons per day. The difference is made up by private haulers delivering water for a fee.
In the late 1990s the Legislature approved money for water development in the community, but Gov. Ben Cayetano refused to release it. Critics said Democrat Cayetano was angered because a majority of residents in Ocean View voted for his Republican opponent, Lingle. Cayetano answered that Ocean View residents knew what they were getting into when they bought land in a dry area without a regular water supply.
Democratic Sen. Robert Herkes complained this year that Lingle, having replaced Cayetano, was also refusing to release money approved by the Legislature in 2005.
In announcing release of the money yesterday, Lingle's administration said, "The supply of water is normally a service provided at the county level."
But Quirino Antonio, with the county Department of Water Supply, said earlier that the picture is more complicated, with the state developing new water sources in the past but the county taking over when state money dried up.