(BIVN) – Mayor Harry Kim issued an Emergency Proclamation on Wednesday regarding the Kona water situation.
There are currently five wells out of service in North Kona. Honokohau Deepwell, the most recent well to fail, went down on August 13.
The Water Restriction Notice already in effect for North Kona was elevated to an emergency. Residents and customers in the area from Keauhou to Keahole and Honalo to Makalei have been forced to restrict water use to health and safety needs (drinking, cooking, and hygiene purposes) only. The county told residents to cease all landscape irrigation activities, although limited hand watering of precious plants is being allowed. The Department of Water Supply also suspended temporary service accounts and irrigation accounts in North Kona.
On Thursday, Sherry Bracken interviewed Mayor Kim in his Hilo office about the Emergency Proclamation.
The Emergency Proclamation ensure “all administrative readiness is established by the County in the event that assistance will be needed from the State government.” It also allows County government to “bypass certain procurement policies in the event that emergency purchases must be made. This also includes the use of emergency funds for the use of the Department of Water Supply’s needs.”
The mayor also said the proclamation legally enables the county to shut the water off to customers who disregard the mandatory restriction with wasteful water use.
Big Island Video News interviewed Keith Okamoto, chief engineer with the Hawaii County Department of Water Supply, outside the county council chambers in Hilo just hours before the proclamation was issued. Okamoto was prepared to give a presentation to the Hawaii County Council Committee on Agriculture Water and Energy Sustainability on the ongoing Kona water emergency.