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By David Corrigan
HAWAIIAN OCEAN VIEW ESTATES, Hawaii: The Hawaii County Department of Water Supply is changing its approach to managing water access meters in Hawaiian Ocean View Estates, in response to recent public outcry and a proposed audit.
On Tuesday, a resolution goes before the Hawaii County Council’s Agriculture, Water & Energy Sustainability Committee that would attempt to shed some light on Ocean View’s new water access meters.
The measure, introduced by Ka’u councilwoman Brittany Smart, requests an audit of the Department of Water Supply’s process of awarding 10 water access meters at the new Hawaiian Ocean View Estates water spigot site.
In July, after years of planning – and wrangling – the long awaited, $6 million water well in the remote Ka’u subdivision was dedicated, and began providing thirsty residents with water. Before the well was in operation, residents relied on catchment and commercial water hauling services for water.
According to the resolution, Ocean View residents say they have not seen any significant drop in the price of water delivery, despite the fact that the Ocean View Standpipe Station is at least 12 miles closer than the Na’alehu water standpipe station.
Residents also say the award process, which issued the ten water standpipe meters on a first-come, first-served basis, may have been conducted unfairly. The practice of awarding water standpipe meters to applicants that are not regulated by the State of Hawai’ i Public Utilities Commission is also being called into question.
On Monday, the Department of Water Supply responded.
In a media release, the department announced it intends to revise the application process and reallocate existing accounts for HOVE standpipe water service.
The former “first-come-first served” will move to a a lottery system, under a Water Supply proposal.
The water department proposes to establish 4 meters for PUC-licensed water haulers, 4 meters for general use (things like agriculture, residential, and industrial use), 1 meter for community association purposes, and 1 meter for the County for emergency and other uses.
The Water Board will listen to comments on this proposal at the monthly Water Board meeting scheduled on October 23, 2012 at the Hilo Baseyard Conference Room.
Water Supply also plans to hold another community meeting on this subject in Ocean View, the time and date to be announced.
DEPT. of WATER SUPPLY: H.O.V.E. Water System Info & FAQ (updated)