Red Hill water crisis could prevent, even halt some construction projects

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) – The Red Hill water crisis has the potential to prevent and even halt constructions projects in Aiea and Halawa, all the way to Hawaii Kai, according to Board of Water Supply officials.

With three wells currently out of service, BWS is warning builders they might not be able to approve everyone’s application for water service.

At this point, no projects have been affected. But the agency says that could change.

It’s a reality the building industry says could be detrimental to Oahu’s economy.

BWS Chief Engineer Ernest Lau says if you’re planning a project or in the process of construction, “They should come in and talk to us right away.”

Depending on where the project is located, Lau says getting approved for water could be an issue.

Even if the agency has already signed off on your application, officials say under the current circumstances, service is not guaranteed.

“We want to be able to try and handle the growth and water demand. But under these circumstances right now, we’re going to have to look at what we can accommodate safely without detrimental effect on water service to our existing customers,” Lau said.

He added that multiple communities could be impacted, particularly those that feed off the Halawa Aiea Water System.

“It’s from the area of Iwaene Street in Halawa, all the way up to Hekaha Street on the west side,” Lau said.

On top of that, Lau said other neighborhoods that could be affected are from the Halawa industrial area where the correctional facility is located all the way out to Kalama Valley in Hawaii Kai.

The Building Industry Association of Hawaii says the situation could have a considerable impact on the island’s economic stability.

A spokesperson said, “We do have concerns that there are developments in the area that are already permitted, and the halting of water allocations would mean developers have invested huge dollars on projects that can’t be completed, sold/closed on — a financial disaster for those businesses.”

The association added, “It would also result in loss of construction jobs and materials sales.”

The Board of Water Supply says going forward water efficiency should be paramount.

“Especially looking at the larger projects,” Lau said. “You’re going to need to start being really creative on how you’re going to make your project water efficient.”

BWS is currently conducting an assessment trying to figure out what projects if any will be impacted. Lau says he should know more early next year.

Copyright 2021 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.

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