Bureau of Reclamation Partners with the State of Hawaii to Investigate Stormwater Reclamation Opportunities

Media Contact: Robert Walsh , (702) 293-8421
John Johnson , (702) 293-8509

For Release: September 13, 2006

The Bureau of Reclamation and Hawaii's Commission on Water Resource Management are continuing a successful partnership to study potential opportunities to reclaim stormwater runoff in Hawaii.

To help augment the State's potable water resources, Reclamation and the Commission are identifying and evaluating ways of intercepting stormwater runoff - which often degrades the water quality of streams and near-shore waters or causes downstream flooding - so that it can be reclaimed for local beneficial uses. Developing new approaches to use this runoff can help conserve more of Hawaii's fresh water for use in meeting future demands for this limited resource.

A study completed by Reclamation in 2005 identified potential opportunities for stormwater reclamation and reuse. Reclamation recently awarded the engineering firm Brown and Caldwell a contract worth nearly $400,000 to further this research by identifying challenges to reclaiming stormwater for future use, determining the viability of recharging the caprock aquifer with runoff and treated wastewater, and investigating creative methods for stormwater capture, storage and use that are suitable for implementation in Hawaii.

"New uses and innovative applications of Hawaii's stormwater flows can extend the state's fresh water supply," said John Johnson, Reclamation's Project Manager. "We are pleased to be participating in these cooperative efforts with the Commission on Water Resource Management to help meet the State's future water demands."

Given Hawaii's limited water resources and population growth projections, stormwater reclamation and reuse are being appraised as a method to augment the state's water resources. Several successful stormwater reuse projects have been constructed on the U.S. mainland and in other countries, but this is the first effort to identify a potential project in Hawaii. Congress is providing the funds for Reclamation to work with the State of Hawaii to assist the Commission in researching ways of creating additional water supply through reclaimed stormwater.

Work on the new project is expected to begin this fall.

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Reclamation is the largest wholesale water supplier and the second largest producer of hydroelectric power in the United States, with operations and facilities in the 17 Western States. Its facilities also provide substantial flood control, recreation, and fish and wildlife benefits. Visit our website at www.usbr.gov and follow us on Twitter @USBR.