Department of Water Supply

Hilo office

The Department of Water Supply (DWS) is a semi-autonomous agency of the County of Hawai‘i that operates by rules and regulations adopted by the Water Board. The Department operates and maintains its water systems with revenues generated solely through water sales. The primary function of the Department is to provide safe domestic water service through its 23 water systems and up to 76 sources scattered throughout the island. The individual water systems are not interconnected except in the more densely populated districts of South Hilo and Kona.

DWS continuously strives to provide dependable, high quality, potable water at a reasonable cost in compliance with the Safe Drinking Water Act. The Department also concentrates efforts and directs its resources towards providing uninterrupted water service islandwide.

Administration

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

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, regulations and policies as adopted by the Water Board. The Manager-Chief Engineer and Deputy also reports directly to the Water Board and serves as advisors. 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.

Administrative Services Branch

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

Contract 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

Division Head: Rick Sumada, Waterworks Controller
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; maintaining and updating consumer records (water sales); maintaining accounts receivable records and process billings (work orders); preparing revenue estimates; handling customer service complaints; performing credit investigations and following 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; prepares monthly and annual financial statistical reports on a timely basis; maintains fiscal control of storeroom and storage yards; prepares payrolls and related reports; develops and accumulates cost dates; processes requisitions for purchase of materials and supplies; prepares contract documents for and procures all waterworks materials and equipment by formal contracts; preaudits and process invoices for payments; prepares  disbursement vouchers for all expenditures; reviews, revises and implements 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; provides technical assistance in evaluating accounting systems for the purpose of converting from a manual operation to an automated computer system; plans and coordinates the installation of the information processing system.

Operations Division

Division Head: Daryl K. Ikeda, P.E.
Field Operations Section

This section maintains and repairs water service meters, mains, service laterals, pipelines and appurtenances, fire hydrants, intakes and springs, road and reservoir sites and provides related 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. Supports fire hydrant repairs.

Engineering Division

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

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 Assurance and Control Branch, Land Branch, and Support Branch. They are headed by the Engineering Division Head-Civil Engineer VII.

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, prioritize programs for current water projects, continually review 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, keeping good records 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.

Manager-Chief Engineer

Keith Okamoto
Keith Okamoto, P.E.

Keith Okamoto was selected as the Department’s Manager-Chief Engineer by the Water Board, effective July 1, 2015. He had previously served as Deputy since March 2012. Okamoto joined the Department of Water Supply in December 1996. During his career, he has held several positions within the Engineering Division: Engineer in the Water Resources and Planning Branch, Supervisor of the Water Quality Assurance and Control Branch, and Assistant Engineering Division Head. 

Deputy

Kawika Uyehara
Kawika Uyehara, P.E.

Kawika Uyehara was appointed as the Department’s Deputy by the Water Board, effective August 3, 2015. He previously served as the Water Quality Assurance and Control Branch Supervisor since March 2012. Uyehara joined the Department of Water Supply in March 2007. During his career, he has served as a Civil Engineer and Supervisor for the Water Quality Assurance and Control Branch. 

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