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Department of Water Supply County of Hawaii

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About the Department of Water Supply

The Department of Water Supply is a semi-autonomous agency of the County of Hawai‘i of which operates by rules and regulations as adopted by the Water Board. As a semi-autonomous agency, the Department operates and maintains its water systems with revenues generated wholly through water sales. The primary function of the Department is to provide safe domestic water service through its 23 water systems and 74 sources scattered throughout the island. The individual water systems are not interconnected except in the more densely populated districts of South Hilo and Kona.

The Department continually strives to provide dependable, high quality, potable water at a reasonable cost. With the enactment of the Safe Drinking Water Act, certain standards were set for all water purveyors. The Department has also concentrated efforts and directed resources towards providing uninterrupted water service.


Water Board

As provided in the County Charter, the members of the Water Board are appointed by the Mayor and approved by the County Council. The Charter also provides that membership of the Water Board be representative of each of the nine County Council districts. The Manager-Chief Engineer of the Department of Water Supply, the Director of Public Works and the Planning Director of the County of Hawai‘i also serve on the Water Board as ex-officio members without the power to vote. The Water Board shall:

•Manage, control and operate the waterworks of the County and all property thereof.

•Adopt rules and regulations which shall have the force and effect of law relating to the management, control, operation, preservation and protection of the waterworks of the County.

•Adopt an annual operating and capital budget for the Department, subject to the hearing and advertising provisions of Section 10-4. Hawaii County Charter.

•Have the power to acquire by eminent domain, purchase, lease or otherwise, and to sell, lease, or otherwise convey real property in the name of the Water Board.

•Have the authority to issue revenue bonds under the name of the Water Board.

•Have such other powers and duties as may be provided by law.

The Water Board is also responsible for the appointment of the Manager-Chief Engineer of the Department, who in turn appoints a Deputy with the confirmation of the Water Board.


The overall and daily administration of the Department is under the direction of the Manager-Chief Engineer and Deputy. They are responsible for the discharge of the rules and regulations and policies as adopted by the Water Board. The Manager-Chief Engineer and Deputy also reports directly to the Water Board and also serves as an advisor. They provide direction to the Department's three (3) major divisions through their respective division heads-Operations, Engineering and Finance. The Administration Division is made up of the Manager-Chief Engineer, Deputy, Administrative Services Branch, Contracts Services Branch, Public Relations Branch, Human Resources Branch and the Information Systems Branch.

Manager-Chief Engineer-Keith Okamoto, P.E.
Deputy-Kawika Uyehara, P.E.

Manager-Chief Engineer/Deputy

Administer the affairs of the Department in accordance with the policies and regulations adopted by the Board and the provisions of the County Charter.

Administrative Services Branch

Serves as secretary to the Water Board of the County of Hawaii and provides administrative and secretarial services, supervision of Manager-Chief Engineer's office personnel, and support to the Manager-Chief Engineer.  Provide secretarial and clerical services and support to the Deputy and the three division heads and their staff. 

Contracts Services Branch

Serves as custodian of contracts; coordinates and processes contracts for construction, professional services, material, and equipment; provides related support to divisions

Public Relations Branch

Plans, develops, and conducts a comprehensive public information program that includes a variety of informational, educational, and interpretive activities, for the department; maintains effective working relationships with members of the media, community groups, and other individuals in the public and private sectors; and performs other related duties as required.

Human Resources Branch

Serves as custodian of records of control and personnel transactions: reviews and processes personnel actions; reviews and processes workers' compensation claims; drafts policies and procedures regarding personnel matters; provides support to the departmental safety committee.

Information Systems Branch

Maintains and operates the Department's Wide Area Network (WAN) including all equipment attached to the LAN; develops, maintains and operates the Department's Geographic Information System, keeping its data updated; provides support to the entire Department.

Finance Division

The Finance Division provides three primary financial functions for the Department. They are accounting, customer service, and computer service. They are under the direction of the Finance Division Head-Waterworks Controller.

Division Head-Waterworks Controller-Rick Sumada

Customer Service Branch

This branch conducts the department's billing operations and its related functions which include customer sign-up, meter reading, collection and accounting for cash; preaudit of consumer accounts; maintain and update consumer records (water sales); maintain accounts receivable records and process billings (work orders); prepare revenue estimates; handle customer service complaints; perform credit investigations and follow up on delinquent accounts.

Management Accounting Branch

This branch maintains the general books of the water utility in accordance with the Uniform System of accounts for Class A and B Water Utilities as recommended by the National Association of Railroad and Utilities Commissioners and applicable laws and rules and regulations; prepare monthly and annual financial statistical reports on a timely basis; maintain fiscal control of storeroom and storage yards; prepare payrolls and related reports; develop and accumulate cost date; process requisitions for purchase of materials and supplies; prepare contract documents for and procure all waterworks materials and equipment by formal contracts; preaudit and process invoices for payments; prepare disbursement vouchers for all expenditures; review, revise and implement changes in management information system.

Computer Service Branch

This branch maintains and operates all data processing equipment in serving the functions of various other operating units in the Department; provide technical assistance in evaluating accounting systems for the purpose of converting from a manual operation to an automated computer system; plan and coordinate the installation of the information processing system.

Operations Division

The Operation Division provides safe potable water to consumers 24 hours a day, including operations and maintenance of the water distribution systems, transmission mains, sources, reservoirs, pumps, treatment plants, communication and controls; coordinate work with Engineering and Finance Divisions. The Operations Division is directed by the Chief of Operations and has three sections. They are the Field Operations Section, Plant Operations Section and Maintenance Section.

Chief of Operations-Daryl K. Ikeda, P.E.

Field Operations Section

This section maintains, repairs water service meters, mains, service laterals, pipelines and appurtenances, fire hydrants, intakes and springs, road and reservoir sites and provide some customer service.

Plant Operations Section

This section installs, maintains and operates pump stations, treatment and chlorination plants, electrical, electronics and mechanical equipment, hydraulic and electrical controls of pumps, telemetering, reservoirs and pipelines. They operate and maintain Supervisory Control and Data Acquisition (SCADA) systems and the Department's two-way radio communication system and appurtenances.

Maintenance Section

This section investigates, inspects, maintains and repairs reservoirs, building structures, facilities and some mechanical and electrical shop equipment such as fire extinguishers. Support fire hydrant repairs.

Engineering Division

The Engineering Division is made up of five Branches that support the entire Department. They are the Engineering Branch, Water Resources and Planning Branch, Water Quality and Assurance Branch, Land Branch, and Support Branch. They are headed by the Engineering Division Head-Civil Engineer VII

Division Head-Kurt Y. Inaba, P.E.

Engineering Branch

This branch ascertains that water systems turned over to the Department are in accordance with the requirements and Standards of the Department of Water Supply. They execute the design and construction of water system projects in accordance with the Department's Standards and priority program for the current water projects and provide continual review of the Water systems and provide solutions to anticipated problems.

Water Resources and Planning Branch

This branch establishes and maintains programs to assure that the present and future water needs will be satisfied. They assure that the water systems are brought up to current standards for pressure, volume, fire protection and quality.

Land Branch

The Land Branch supports the Water Resources and Planning Branch and the Engineering Branch where field survey and land acquisition are involved; keep a good record of the Department's real property.

Water Quality Assurance and Control Branch

This branch develops and implements programs to comply with the Safe Drinking Water Act including direction and coordination of several functions involving the microbiological laboratory, chemical laboratory, and environmental programs.

Support Branch

The Support Branch supports and aids all sections based on priorities established by the Engineering Division Head.