Maui News

Hirono announces $18.9M to fund desalination facility in West Oʻahu

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Kalaeloa Seawater Desalination Facility project rendering. PC:

US Sen. Mazie K. Hirono (D-HI) announced more than $18.9 million in funding for the Honolulu Board of Water Supply’s “Kalaeloa Seawater Desalination Project.” The funding for this project will go toward designing and building a desalination facility that will remove dissolved mineral salts in seawater to obtain fresh drinking water, creating a new sustainable water source on Oʻahu.

“As we work to combat the impacts of climate change, it is important that we protect Hawaii’s natural resources and strengthen our water infrastructure,” said Hirono. “This project will help reduce reliance on our finite groundwater, while also creating a new reliable and sustainable water source on Oʻahu to meet increasing demand. Hawaiʻi’s families deserve access to clean, safe drinking water and I am glad this funding will support our sustainability efforts and community growth in West Oʻahu.”

Kalaeloa Seawater Desalination Facility project rendering. PC:

The new desalination facility will use reverse osmosis to remove salt from seawater, effectively creating a sustainable water source that can be used during periods of drought—for climate change resilience—and will reduce water transfers from Central Oʻahu to ʻEwa. The facility will also help meet increased demand for safe, potable drinking water and reduce reliance on groundwater as a water source. It will produce 1.7 million gallons of potable water per day, with provisions for future expansion to 5 million gallons of potable water a day.


This funding was awarded by the US Department of the Interior’s Bureau of Reclamation Title XVI Program, which identifies and investigates opportunities to reclaim and reuse wastewaters and impaired ground and surface water in the 17 Western states and Hawaiʻi.

Hirono, a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee, has championed legislation to protect Hawaiʻi’s environment and natural resources, while also working to support local farmers and agriculture, and speed the transition to clean, renewable energy in Hawaiʻi and across the country.

  • In June 2024, Hirono introduced the National Interagency Seed and Restoration Center Establishment Act, legislation that would create and fund a National Interagency Seed and Restoration Center within the US Department of the Interior to promote the conservation and restoration of native plant communities across the US.
  • In May 2024, Hirono announced that the US Forest Service is awarding more than $5.6 million to help plan for and prevent wildfires in Hawaiʻi. The funding, made available through the Community Wildfire Defense Grant Program, will be allocated to nine projects across the state to help at-risk communities plan for and reduce the risk of wildfire. 
  • In October 2023, Hirono announced $2 million in federal support for three projects working to advance environmental justice across Hawaiʻi. The projects will ensure that disadvantaged communities, who have historically suffered from underinvestment, have access to clean air and water and climate resilience solutions.


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