Gov. Neil Abercrombie today announced the release of more than $15.85 million for various capital improvement projects (CIP) administered by the state Department of Agriculture in support of the local agriculture industry and further preservation of Hawaii's watersheds.
"Hawaii's agriculture industry is vital to our local economy and supports thriving rural communities," Gov. Abercrombie said. "It's essential to protect our mauka forest areas, which contain native plants and animals found nowhere else in the world. Our state's watershed initiative remains a top priority, and it is the most cost-effective and efficient way to absorb rainwater and replenish groundwater resources to prevent erosion that muddies our beaches and fisheries."
Allotment of funds for the following projects, identified by state legislators, has been approved by the Governor:
$12,500,000 -- Agricultural Land, Oahu -- Funds to purchase three land parcels in Wahiawa for agribusiness operations; the properties have access to roads, municipal water, and utilities, which make it efficient for transport of produce and cost effective for agribusiness operations (A fourth parcel may be purchased, pending negotiations with another buyer)
$1,500,000 -- Lower Hamakua Ditch Watershed Project, Island of Hawaii -- Construction to repair flumes, ditches, reservoirs and tunnels; remove sediment in the ditches; modify intake structures; and install new lateral distribution lines for the irrigation system
$1,000,000 -- State Agricultural Water Use Development Plan, statewide -- Project planning to continue to inventory irrigation systems throughout the state, prepare historic description of the original irrigation infrastructure, assess the current condition, propose maintenance improvements, identify irrigation source and water use requirements, and develop long-term water use projections
$700,000 -- Kunia Agricultural Park, Oahu -- Design of the 150-acre Kunia Agricultural Park in Royal Kunia; design plans will include provisions to subdivide the land parcel into 26 lots and coordinating adjacent infrastructure to make utilities available to the parcels
$75,000 -- East Kauai Irrigation System, Kauai -- Construction for upgrades and repairs including clearing, lining, repairing and stabilizing the access roads, ditches, flumes, tunnels, reservoirs, diversions and intakes
$75,000 -- Waimanalo Irrigation System Improvements, Oahu -- Design for the extension of the main irrigation pipeline; the extension will be approximately 1,500 linear feet