Waimea Irrigation Systems Water Levels


November 4, 2013

TO:                               Customers of the Waimea Irrigation System
FROM:                        Waimea Irrigation System
SUBJECT:                  Mandatory Water Conservation

As a result of the low rainfall condition over the past several months, the Waimea Irrigation System has commenced pumping water from the Puu Pulehu Reservoir to the Puukapu 60 MG Reservoir for the past several weeks.  According to the National Weather Service’s hydrology reports, Kamuela Upper gage reported 11% of normal rainfall and Kamuela I reported a mere 5% of normal.  The Kawainui Stream gage reported only 45% of normal flow.

Effective Monday, November 4, 2013, an emergency declaration was announced by the Waimea Irrigation System and requests your cooperation in implementing a mandatory 10% reduction in irrigation water consumption until further notice.

In accordance with §4-157-4, Hawaii Administrative Rules, the Administrator and Chief Engineer may declare emergency conditions and implement conservation measures to forestall a water shortage or interruptions in water service.

The Department of Agriculture has established a “link” to this webpage so water users may track the irrigation system’s availability of irrigation water.  The link provides the daily reservoir level, provides National Weather Service information and staff’s comments on the condition of the irrigation system.

Please contact us, toll free, at 974-4000, extension 3-9473, if you have any questions.

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CURRENT WATER LEVEL as of:    07/24/2014:  50.0  feet (51.7 MG)

  • 07/23/2014:  50.0  feet (51.7 MG)
  • 07/22/2014:  50.0  feet (51.7 MG)
  • 07/21/2014:  50.0  feet (51.7 MG)
  • 07/18/2014:  50.0  feet (51.7 MG)
  • 07/17/2014:  50.0  feet (51.7 MG)
  • 07/16/2014:  50.0  feet (51.7 MG)



CURRENT WATER LEVEL as of:   07/24/2014: 18.5  feet (106.75 MG)

  • 07/23/2014: 18.5  feet (106.75 MG)
  • 07/22/2014: 18.5  feet (106.75 MG)
  • 07/21/2014: 18.5  feet (106.75 MG)
  • 07/18/2014: 18.5  feet (106.75 MG)
  • 07/17/2014: 18.5  feet (106.75 MG)
  • 07/16/2014: 18.5  feet (106.75 MG)

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February 26, 2014

Waimea Transfer Ditch Improvements:

  • The Contractor fully installed approximately 12,000 feet of dual 18 and 24 inch pipe.  The remaining 400 feet of pipe located at the Mamalahoa Highway crossing has been laid into the ditch and backfilling should be completed by the end of February.
  • The remaining work includes reconstruction of a concrete junction box, tree removal, grading, and grassing.
  • Construction is anticipated to be completed by the end of March.

Dam Safety – Puukapu Reservoir:

  • DOA’s request for use of Hawaiian Homelands (DHHL) land to install a temporary 350,000 gallon water storage basin adjacent to the Puukapu Reservoir was approved by the DHHL Commission in June.  A Right-of-Entry (ROE) agreement with DHHL was executed in late November.  The temporary basin which will include a liner, berms, perimeter fence, and piping to connect to the main distribution pipeline will be located in an area adjacent to the spillway on northern side of the reservoir.
  • DOA has been negotiating with a Contractor to install a Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) system and a float activated device to automatically turn the Puu Pulehu pump on and off as water in the temporary basin fluctuates throughout the day.  The initial quote was high so we are looking at other alternatives.
  • The gate valve in the Puukapu Reservoir that enables DOA to control flow to the distribution pipeline is frozen.  Our Big Island staff has been slowly exercising the valve to see if they can get it to open and close properly.  If our staff is unsuccessful in restoring full operation of the valve by March 7th, the location of the temporary bypass connection point will have to be modified.
  • Per discussion with DLNR, we can proceed with installation of the temporary basin.  After the SCADA negotiations and gate valve issues are resolved, we will begin work on the temporary basin when water levels in the reservoirs are favorable.
  • DOA will need to conduct a preconstruction meeting with DLNR and the Contractor before the project can begin.
  • Notice to Proceed (NTP) with construction will not be issued by DOA until the Puu Pulehu Reservoir is completely filled and the Puukapu Reservoir is at or near capacity.
  • The Puukapu Reservoir work is anticipated to be completed 6 to 8 months after the Notice to Proceed date is issues to the Contractor.  Four to six weeks is being set aside to install and monitor the performance of the temporary water storage tank/ bypass lines.
  • Requirements to establish baseline groundwater levels have been revised.  The piezometers installed during construction will not have to be monitored at the beginning of the project.
  • Refilling of the Puukapu Reservoir will be allowed after DLNR is satisfied with the improvements made.
  • During the review process for the Puukapu Reservoir Dam Alteration Permit, DLNR required additional improvements to address seismic analysis concerns.  DOA will be required to install a buttress along the base of the reservoir to further stabilize the embankment.  Design and construction of this buttress will be done at a later date in the near future.  We do not anticipate this future work to have any impact on water availability.  DOA is finalizing negotiations with a consultant and will begin routing in early February.

Kamuela Vacuum Cooling Plant Improvements:

  • The Consultant has begun design improvements for the replacement of a vacuum cooling unit and refrigeration system; relocation of an air compressor; replacement of the evaporators, compressors and condensers for the south side refrigeration room; re-connection of the electrical building service from the HELCO transformer; re-location of the existing vacuum cooler electrical controls and power from the west side to the inside of the east wall of the building; mitigate corrosion of the building’s exterior overhang and flashing; and replace AC flooring with new concrete flooring
  • The design is anticipated to be completed by the end of April with bid opening in June.

Puukapu Deep Well Pump:

  • The Contractor replaced several switches and rewired some of the conduits.  The deep well pump was tested in January and is operational.

Proposed Conservation Plan:

Over a one month span from the beginning of September to the beginning of October, the water level in the Puukapu Reservoir dropped from 50 feet (full) to 28 feet at which time DOA began pumping water from the Puu Pulehu Reservoir.  Water was pumped 11 hours per day (4:00am to 3:00pm), Monday through Friday.  Heavy rainfall at the end of last year enabled DOA to fill the Puukapu Reservoir back to its capacity.  When the Puukapu Reservoir was full, DOA began restoring water in the Puu Pulehu Reservoir.  As of January 27, the water level in the Puu Pulehu Reservoir was full at 18.5 feet.

Although the reservoirs are at or near capacity and the Puukapu Deepwell Pump is operational, DOA is proposing to continue enforcement of the mandatory 10 percent conservation until the Puukapu Reservoir safety improvement project is complete.  DOA proposes to meet with the Waimea farmers to discuss possible modifications to the conservation measures after the temporary Puukapu water storage basin is installed and its performance analyzed.