HOVE loses sole county water source

KAILUA-KONA — The HOVE Deep Well in Ocean View has failed, the Hawaii County Department of Water Supply said Thursday.

It is the only county water source serving Hawaiian Ocean View Estates and the Ranchos area in Ka‘u. Many in the area are also equipped for and rely on water catchment systems.

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Keith Okamoto, DWS manager-chief engineer, wrote in an email to West Hawaii Today that HOVE services a spigot and standpipe station, adding it is not a regular water distribution system. He said DWS does not have backup equipment for the deep well on island at this time.

“But we do have a contract to procure a pump/motor set,” he wrote.

Spigots at the well site will remain open to community members, according to the release. Okamoto said DWS will haul water from the Waiohinu/Naalehu system to the HOVE tank for as long as necessary.

“(We) intend to do this until the well is repaired so the community will have continued access to the spigots,” he wrote.

The department is asking those who utilize the spigots to limit water usage to potable needs exclusively to help conserve water stores.

DWS began troubleshooting to determine the cause of the failure Thursday. It is not yet known if a pump and/or motor failure is the cause of the well’s problems. Once DWS completes diagnostics, a clearer timeline for a repair schedule should emerge.

As to when troubleshooting will be completed, Okamoto said he could not provide an estimate. He did say, however, that even if excavation is needed at the HOVE Deep Well to replace a pump and/or motor, it will not impede the public’s ability to access the spigots, as the well and tank are on a site separate from where the spigots are situated.

Precisely when the HOVE Deep Well went down remains unclear. DWS was not able to provide a repair history for the HOVE site by press time Thursday.

Dale Meheula, who owns Mehe’s Ka‘u Bar and Grill, said his business is set, as he has water delivered weekly and also has a large tank for catchment supplied by 2,500 square feet of roof. Rain, he said, has been plentiful in Ka‘u of late.

“I’m comfortable with that, but I feel sorry for the rest of the people,” he said. “Especially if you want to grow your own food.”

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Meheula said he’s grown fatigued with Hawaii County’s water issues, even despite not living in North Kona where deep well failures have run rampant for nearly a year.

“The county is just lagging on this,” he said. “Just get a mainland outfit that knows what the hell they’re doing. Instead of going to different companies, go to one company and get all the same parts that work.”