Monday | October 23, 2017
About Us | Contact | Subscribe

Water running in North Kohala

Updated: 
September 25, 2017 - 12:41pm

KAILUA-KONA — The Kohala Ranch Water Company returned water service to its roughly 400 North Kohala customers Sunday night, 10 days following the failures of both of its deep wells on Sept. 14.

The company lifted mandatory water restrictions on the several developments it supplies effective Sunday at 8 p.m.

“We appreciate your cooperation and patience throughout this unexpected and unfortunate situation,” KRWC Vice President Bill Moore wrote in a press release Monday. “However, because we still only have one well in operation, we request your continued assistance to voluntarily conserve your use of water by 10 (percent) or more to help ensure continued reliable service until Well No. 2 can be placed back into service.”

The continued conservation measures appear merely to be precautions, as KRWC typically only runs one of its two wells at any given time. Each has a pumping capacity of 1 million gallons per day, which Moore previously told WHT is enough to supply the needs of all the company’s customers.

The release goes on to say that a schedule to bring the second well back online is being developed and more updates are forthcoming. KRWC will hold an informational meeting for its customers at 1 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 5, at Anna Ranch in Waimea.

KRWC was able to respond as quickly as it did to simultaneous well failures because a spare pump and motor were on island in case of an emergency.

One of the two wells had been shut down due to suspected equipment problems. When the second well failed, the company tried to start up the well it’d taken offline, but the problematic equipment promptly malfunctioned. It was this scenario that allowed two wells to fail on the same day without a connected cause.

Moore did not offer specifics on the company’s plan moving forward to create sufficient redundancies to avoid further disruptions in water service, as he said everything from costs to risk/reward models need to be considered.

“We’re assessing our options now,” he said. “We’re trying to work with other water companies to see our options.”

The immediate need to bolster a system absent redundancies beyond its two wells led KRWC to truck water from a fire hydrant in Kawaihae non-stop for a week and a half.

The malfunctions also briefly derailed public well repair efforts in North Kona, as the rig necessary to extract and install deep well equipment had to be diverted from Department of Water Supply operations in Kona to address the emergency situation in North Kohala.

DWS Manager and Chief Engineer Keith Okamoto wrote in an email to WHT that the rig was scheduled for transport from Kohala Ranch back to the Hualalai Deep Well site in North Kona Monday afternoon.

Rules for posting comments