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Duplicate well idea worth pursuing

September 10, 2017 - 12:05am

I would like to commend Hawaii County Water Board member Nestorio Domingo for his wise recommendation of a dual redundant deepwell water system for our West Hawaii wells.

I believe that his experience and background as a U.S. Navy engineering chief as well as an Air Force federal engineering employee for over three decades gives him a keen insight into our current water problem.

As a former military retiree and a retired federal employee myself, I cannot understand why any plan or system does not have some sort of redundancy to insure it doesn’t fail outright. I would assume that there are a lot of smart people in the water department and the county.

Unfortunately, the unplanned/incidental failure of so many wells in the West Hawaii area within a relatively short period illustrates a huge void in good planning and management. I read all the reasons provided by the water department as well as the county leadership citing faulty or old equipment failures, lack of the immediate replacement equipment unique to the current systems, etc.

However, I still seem somewhat disappointed that a common sense strategy and plan that would incorporate some kind of redundancy to avoid system failures by providing immediate backup when unplanned system failures do arise was never part of management’s overall plan. Fixing broken parts as systems failed was the policy. And that seemed fine when only one or two systems went down. But, the current multiple failures illustrated that such a policy does not work.

Expensive replacement equipment was unavailable, expensive to rebuild, and limited to only a few manufacturers. Clearly dual redundancy to provide continual water service after there are failures to the primary system is a better guarantee than any other current alternatives. Water is one of the basic needs of mankind. Wars have been fought over it. Societies have risen and fallen because of it. So the costs to set up such redundancy to protect future failures and provide basic water services to citizens should never be an issue. As Mr. Domingo explained, “The cost … could be relatively high due to additional pumps and related components, but it should pay for itself and is worth the investment in the long run.”

Blaming management for these failures will not solve the current problems. Transparency in planning dual redundant deepwell water systems for West Hawaii’s wells, as Mr. Domingo recommends, is the only logical and immediate and long-term fix to this problem.

If we can be compelled to pay and support the hotel tax for the rail in Honolulu County, why can’t the government take care of our basic needs such as water and find funding to ensure that is never wanting in West Hawaii!

Jim Hussey is the post commander for American Legion Post 20 in Kailua-Kona.

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