Department of Water Supply County of Hawaii

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How is your money spent?

Water Quality

Providing safe drinking water is the foremost goal of the Department. We intend to meet the stringent requirements of the federal Safe Drinking Water Act. This includes testing of the water on a regular basis, developing better sources, and furnishing more treatment facilities.

Dependable Systems

Making sure that you have water involves drilling more wells (since well water is more dependable and less susceptible to droughts than surface sources); repairing and replacing outdated systems; and installing new modern equipment to monitor our systems.


The Water Board of the County of Hawai‘i adopted a rate increase at its meeting of February 27, 2001. Public hearings were previously held in Hilo and Kona.

General system rate increases of 28.8% and 15.0% will become effective April 1, 2001 and July 1, 2003 respectively. Facilities charges, which are one-time charges for new service connections will increase by 28.8% and 26.4% respectively on these same dates. Rate structure changes include the addition of a separate power charge, modifications to the block threshold levels, and the addition of a fourth rate block. Agricultural rates continue to be discounted.

Operating costs, which include, power and pumping, transmission and distribution, source of supply, purification, customer service and collections, and administrative and general office expenses, are projected to increase an average of about 8% per year. The Department plans $59.2 million in capital improvements over the next five years. Capital improvements include about $16.9 million for growth related projects, $27.5 million for EPA mandated improvements, and about $14.8 million for improvements to existing facilities. About 26% of capital improvements will be financed from water sales and facilities charges with the remaining financing from capital reserves, State revolving fund loans, and new general obligation bond proceeds.

The water rates are designed to encourage conservation through an inverted block rate structure, which charges higher unit costs for heavy water users. Most customers are serviced through 5/8-inch meters. Customers using about 10,000 gallons per month, will pay an additional $4.80 per month. A customer using 5,000 gallons will pay $2.65 more per month. The percentage increase will vary with larger percentage increases for heavier water users.

The Department of Water Supply services approximately 35,000 customers with about 8.5 billion gallons of water annually. The rate increase will generate about $35 million in additional revenues over the next five years.