This is for your own good

SUBHEAD: Presentation to the public concerning Kahili Horizontal Directionally Drilled Well Project.

By Staff on 10 October 2012 for the Kauai Water Department -  
(extracted from Department of Water emailed press release)

Image above: A Mashup of Waialeale in the background and in the foreground the various commercial mills along Niagara Falls Gorge in the late 19th century. By Juan Wilson.

Kauai Water System Energy Conservation Project 

Presentation to Public of Kahili Horizontal Directionally Drilled Well.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM

King Kaumualii Elementary School Cafeteria
4380 Hanamaulu Road, Lihue, Kauai

Please bring a flashlight to this meeting, as the school lights will be turned off to protect shearwaters. When the meeting ends the site will be dark!

To make this meeting convenient for working families, light refreshments will be served and you may bring your keiki. We will reserve a special place for them with credentialed child supervision provided by Kama'aina Kids.

Auxiliary aids and services are available upon request. A request for reasonable accommodations should be made no later than ten working days prior to the needed accommodations.
Call the Kauai Department of Water at 245-5461


The feasibility of the following will be considered as well as the announcement of an Environmental Impact Study (EIS):
  • Energy Reduction Possibilities
  • Investing In Renewable Energy Solutions
  • Develop New Horizontal Directionally Drilled Well
Energy, operation and maintenance savings:
  • The energy (electricity) used for pumping and water treatment is very expensive-amounting to nearly $3 million annually.
Ensuring water quality:
  • Proposed more rigorous state and federal standards for drinking water will result in increased water treatment costs. The increased treatment costs for Lihu'e-Kapa'a wells are estimated at $6 million.
Reliable water supply:
  • A high-level well that would eliminate the need for pumping and therefore reduce our dependence on external energy sources.

Drill Baby Drill
By Joan Conrow on 11 October 2012 for Kauai Eclectic -


Image above: The logo of the Kauai Bottling Company operating on Grove Farm land. Kauai Bottling Company will extract this pure water of exceptional quality from deep within the mountain of Haupu, on private land, and process it through a bottling plant on site, ready for shipment to global markets. From (

Water truly is the most precious resource.

And the Kauai Department of Water (DOW) is looking to develop more of it by drilling a horizontal shaft into the mountains at Kahili, southwest of Lihue.

Though the project, if successful, would double the water capacity in the Kapaa-Lihue area, that's not the goal, said Jan TenBruggencate, KIUC board member/blogger/journalist/public relations consultant, who is doing community outreach for the Limtiaco Co., which has been contracted by Oceanit, the company hired to do the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS).

Instead, the project is intended to eliminate some $2 million in annual pumping costs for the Lihue-Kapaa area by using the mountain as “a storage tank” for a gravity-fed water source. It's being billed as an “energy conservation” project because DOW currently is using electricity generated by fossil fuel to run its pumps.

It's estimated that drilling will cost some $40-$45 million, while the pipeline will be another $30 million. The EIS is $2 million. [Jan has corrected the project cost to $30-$35 million, including the EIS.]

Jan, who recently stopped by my house to check out my top bar hive — he's also a beekeeper — and give me the low down on the project, said Oceanit will also conduct feasibility studies on other alternatives, such as using small hydro plants or solar panels to run the pumps. Those options could be implemented if the EIS shows the drilling isn't feasible.

I asked why DOW wasn't starting with those options, if the goal was truly to eliminate pumping costs rather than develop additional capacity. It seemed to me they would be less risky, and most likely a lot cheaper, while meeting the objective of weaning the utility off fossil fuel.

Jan gave several reasons why DOW wants to drill. It's uncertain whether hydro and solar would be able to generate sufficient electricity to power the pumps, he said, and solar has a limited lifespan, so the panels would have to be replaced. DOW is also wanting to move away vertical wells because “they're more susceptible to chemical contamination from agriculture and drinking water regulations are going to get tougher.” It could cost DOW some $6 million to clean up the Lihue-Kapaa wells to meet these stricter standards.

As for why the DOW is going for a system that could generate some 8 million gallons per day of water, well, if you're going to spend all that money, you might as well make it big “so the system will still be there for the grandchildren,” Jan said. “The thought is it would make us a more resilient community because we could supply the entire Lihue-Kapaa region with sources that don't have an energy component.”

The current Lihue-Kapaa system has a capacity of 4 mgd. DOW plans to take the vertical wells out of production once the horizontal well comes on line, although they feasibly still could be used, allowing for a tripling of capacity.

Though I wasn't the only person to raise the specter that all this additional capacity might generate additional development, Jan downplayed that concern, saying both water and power use on the island have been dropping in recent years.

He also noted that using water capacity to limit growth only “hurts the little guys,” because big companies like A&B can drill their own well, as they're doing at Kukuiula.

Still, I think it's important to note that the project is planned for land owned by Grove Farm, which has all that undeveloped acreage out there that would make for some fabulous gentleman's estates. But water has always been the limiting factor, and GF had to develop an extremely expensive surface water system to supply its projects to date.

Surely they're going to want something, I said to Jan, and then we argued a little bit about whether GF could legally claim a share of the water in exchange for allowing the project on its land.

We also talked about who would be making the decisions about how that additional capacity is used. Ultimately, authority lies with the Board of Water Supply. It is comprised of seven members. Three are ex-officio voting members: the county engineer, the planning director and the state highways engineer.

The other four are appointed by the mayor and approved by the County Council. Currently, they are farmer Roy Oyama, rancher, developer and former Councilman Daryl Kaneshiro (who is chair), banker Clyde Nakaya and electrician Randall Nishimura.

Sounds like kind of a pro-growth line-up. And where are the women, the environmentalists and the Hawaiians? I asked Jan, though that's a question that would be better posed to Mayor Bernard Carvalho, since he does the appointing.

Jan says the horizontal well was first proposed as part of the 2020 water plan, but a 2001 study found it couldn't be done effectively. Since then, new oil drilling technology has been developed that could now make such a project feasible. The plan is to drill into the mountain for two miles, or until they hit a capacity of 8 mgd.

If it's found that any streams are being dewatered as a result of collecting that water, the state Commission on Water Resource Management could order a reduction in the flow, Jan said. But he doesn't think that such is dewatering is likely, because it's estimated the current sustainable capacity of Kauai's water resources is 120-130 mgd.

Though I recall DOW Director David Craddick, previously talking about doing this horizontal drilling into the “blue hole” region, Jan said DOW is instead looking at the site in the Lihue-Koloa Forest Reserve because there are already two hydro plants, and roads and ditches are in place.

Rain and Aquifers

By Juan Wilson on 13 October 2012 for Island Breath - 

Image above: Cross section diagram of the island of Kauai showing present and future Rain Strata. From (

The Department of Water (DOW) is proposing to drill into the side of the island of Kauai to create access to 8 million gallons a day of sparkling water in underground aquifers. In my opinion this is worse than attempt by Free Flow Power (FFP) to grab several major sources of water for hydroelectric dams on Kauai (with the dimwitted assistance of KIUC).

The plot by FFP was to use the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) to "jump claim" on water rights that were surface water. The DOW proposal would "open a vein" into our island, or I should say an artery, that would flow water out of our aquifer at double the rate of four million-gallons-per-day (mgd) that supports the largest population center on Kauai, namely the Wailua/Kapaa area.

This "artery" would be created by creating a Horizontal Directionally Drilled Well (HDDW) that would gravity feed 8mgd at up to 1,200 psi to the DOW.
These arguements of the DOW supporting the HDDW are TRUE:
  • That it would save energy, because the aquifer water would be taken off at high elevation and not need to be pumped from the current wells to upland reservoirs. TRUE.
  • That it would produce power with a hydro-electric generator that could, if needed in other locations, pump water uphill to reservoirs, or be utilized by KIUC. TRUE.
  • That it would provide cleaner water than is currently produced by the wells that service Wailua/Kapaa. TRUE.
However, the following claims that the DOW makes are FALSE:
  • That the current 4 mgd would no longer be utilized because we wouldn't need it any more. FALSE.
  • That the 8 mgd would not be used to jumpstart speculative suburban development with as much as twice the population of Waila/Kapaa. FALSE.
  • That once it was detected that upland streams and their aquifers were being compromised that the use of the HDDW would be scaled back as required. FALSE.
Moreover, as Jan TenBruggencate posted on his blog (
The northeast trade winds are among the key features of Hawaii’s excellent weather, but new research shows that the trade winds are declining...

...over the past 38 years show that the average number of northeast trade wind days annually has dropped 28 percent, from 291 to 210 days a year...

...We have seen more frequent drought in the Hawaiian Islands over the last 30 years. Precipitation associated with the moisture-laden northeasterly trades along the windward slopes of the islands contributes much of the overall rainfall in Hawaii...
The importance of this is that global warming will bring Hawaii less rain in the future. Not only will the moist trades decline, but the hotter air in the lower atmosphere will raise the elevation at which the rainclouds form - eventually missing the top of our island where it is caught to recharge the aquifers we depend on for water table depths.

On November 21, 2009 a series of presentations were made on the effect og global warming on Kauai. See (
 Rainfall & Drought
The presentation by Dr. Thomas Giambelluca  demonstrated that most rain arriving on Kauai is created by moisture carried by the Trade Winds as the air rises on the mountain sides within a strata below a phenomena called the Trade Wind Inversion (TWI), and above a strata with high relative humidity called the Lifting Condensation Level (LCL).

Warming of the land will raise the LCL and not allow rain clouds to form at lower elevations. Interruptions of the trade winds will lower the elevation of the TWI bringing less moisture in the air.

Stream Flow & Groundwater
Dr. Gorden Tribble spoke about Kauai's fresh water aquifers that provide storage for rainwater and feed perennial streams. He used data collected by USGS and other sources to demonstrate that a little less rainfall means a lot less recharge of our aquifers (refilling of the water table).

The Lihue Aquifer (Puna Moku) has received only 53% of its normal rain in recent years. This translates to on a 38% recharge rate to its water table. 
Whether they know it or not, those that advance the HDDW project are promoting economic growth, population growth, and the growth of consumption. They are blind to the problems of the future that already plague Ohau. Don't let them bleed-out Kauai for more suburban sprawl.

It's been said that water in the 21st century will be what oil was in the 20th. Blue Gold instead of Black. Throughout the world corporations like Nestles and PesiCola are looking to privatize public water for growth and profit. Growth and profit can only come from what we take as resources from nature. This privitization of the public common is the source of much mischief in this world.

The DOW (Department of Water) of Kauai is an entity not entirely unlike FreddyMac, FannyMae, The Federal Reserve and Hawaii's PLDC: private entities with government backing. Like KIUC, they chart their own course without listening to the public - unless forced to. 

Large scale tapping into our island's primary aquifer will be a temporary and suicidal mission with only short term benefits. The temptation to "splurge" and use the Kauai aquifer to stimulate more development on Kauai will backfire as Climate Change engulfs the world and endangers our lives here. The conservation of water will be a high priority.

The philosophy of those involved with Permaculture is to slow down the course of water and route to  the sea - not speed it up.

One motto of the Kauai Department of Water is:
"Pure Water -Man's Greatest Need. Use it wisely."
On at least that we agree.

See also:
Ea O Ka Aina: Kauai's Hydro Battle 6/22/11
Ea O Ka Aina: Climate Change & Kauai 11/21/09


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