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Plans for a BWS desalination plant in Kalaeloa are getting a $19 million boost

Hirono called the effort to create a new drinking water source important to help protect Hawaii from climate change.

Hawaii will receive nearly $19 million in federal funding to help design and build a desalination plant in Kalaeloa that would convert seawater into drinking water, Sen. Mazie Hirono announced in a news release Friday.

Those dollars come from a U.S. Department of the Interior program to fund water recycling and desalination projects, and they will go to the Honolulu Board of Water Supply’s “Kalaeloa Seawater Desalination Project,” the news release said.

Barber's Point Harbour.  Kalaeloa Campbell Park.Barber's Point Harbour.  Kalaeloa Campbell Park.
Oahu’s Kalaeloa region could eventually get a desalination plant that could convert nearly 2 million gallons of seawater into freshwater every day. (Cory Lum/Civil Beat/2018)

No timeline or total cost for the project was given, but Hirono called the effort an important step toward making Hawaii more resilient to climate change. Specifically, the desalination plant would alleviate some of Oahu’s dependence on groundwater while providing a new, sustainable source of drinking water, she said.

The facility would produce about 1.7 million gallons of drinking water each day and reduce water transfers from Central Oahu to Ewa, the release said. It could eventually expand to 5 million galls per day, the release said.