News & Updates
HONOLULU, MARCH 28, 2018 – The Board of Water Supply (BWS) is seeking public input regarding proposed changes to its water rates, as presented to its Board of Directors yesterday. The changes are driven by the need to increase investments in Oahu’s water infrastructure, reduce water main breaks, encourage conservation, provide sufficient funding for disaster recovery, and more equitably distribute rates and charges among types of customers.
As a result, the proposed rate changes will vary by customer type.
All of these changes are intended to more equitably recover BWS’s costs, to provide water service, from each type of customer – so everyone pays their fair share.
The proposed changes are based on 4 years of studies, intensive analysis, and public input, including BWS’s preparation of a Water Master Plan, a 30-year Infrastructure Investment Plan, and a Long Range Financial Plan. The rate proposal reflects input from a community advisory group with representation throughout Oahu, meetings with diverse island interests, as well as multiple customer surveys and focus groups.
Prior to adopting the proposed rates, BWS is reaching out again for broad public ideas and input. “We’ve been working on the planning and technical evaluations to revamp the BWS rate structure for a long time,” noted BWS Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau. “We think we’ve done a very thoughtful and thorough job. All of our revenue comes from our customers, so we want to hear from them whether we’ve got this right.”
“We’ve heard loud and clear that reducing main breaks is important,” said BWS Board Chair Bryan Andaya. “While it won’t happen overnight, the revised rates and associated plans will put us solidly on that path. At the same time, we’re taking this opportunity to give customers greater control of their water bills and be rewarded for their commitment to conservation.”
The draft water rate proposal includes schedules of monthly charges, consumption charges, fire meter standby charges, and fee subsidies to support affordable, homeless housing incentives, and fire sprinklers retrofit of existing high-rise residential buildings. The BWS also proposes to continue subsidized agricultural rates for qualified farmers.
BWS is reaching out to the community through the neighborhood board system, community and civic organizations, as well as its community advisory group, and will hold four public hearings on the proposed changes: