(BIVN) – The Hawaiʻi County Charter Commission heard testimony against a proposal to dismantle the Department of Water Supply and create a Department of Water Sustainability.
Hawaiʻi County Mayor Harry Kim and former Water Supply employee Kanani Anton spoke in opposition to the possible charter amendment, which was proposed by Environmental Management Commission Chair Rick Bennett.
Bennett recommended a charter amendment that would create a Department of Water Sustainability, with the objective of dismantling the Department of Water Supply, and moving all water responsibilities of the Department of Environmental Management and Water Supply into this line department.
The amendment, according to Bennett, would also:
- Promote water conservation aggressively as well as the reuse of all reclaimable waters.
- Institute policies and programs to protect surface, ground and near shore waters of Hawaii Island.
- Coordinate with other departments in this regard.
Bennett also proposed creating an Office of Sustainable Water, which would include an executive position under the Managing Director to “oversee and coordinate all county policies that affect all water and coastal water resources to protect the economy and wise use of water resources.”
Bennett noted that “Kauai and Maui Counties restructured water supply functions in a similar fashion many 38 years ago.”