HONOLULU (KHON2) — Expect to pay more in your water bill, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply is planning to increase rates beginning next year. BWS officials said the cost to operate is drastically increasing and those costs will likely be passed down to customers.
Oahu’s infrastructure is aging, water main breaks are no stranger to the island and to maintain those pipes costs millions of dollars. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply is a semi-autonomous City agency. it is financially self-sufficient and operation costs have gone up more than expected.
The BWS Public Information Officer Kathleen Pahunui said, “The power cost jumped enormously over 20% over what we originally budgeted our electrical bill last year was $33 million.”
In order to keep up with its bills, the BWS is proposing water rate increments over the next five and a half years. Those increments will be between 10% and 8%.
Pahinui said the average single-family household uses about 9,000 gallons of water per month, their costs will go up by about $40 by the end of the fifth year of increases.
Pahinui said, “Your bill right now they are paying under $60 at the end of this five-year rate schedule July of 2028 they will be paying just under $100.”
Residents like Marlene Keawe said those increases are expected and it is up to her to try to keep expenses down.
She said, “What am I doing in my own home to reduce that knowing I can’t really control the prices that are going up.”
The BWS said the rate increases are also meant to cover the maintenance of current infrastructure and the installation of new pipelines. Pahinui said costs associated with the Red Hill oil spill are also a factor, the BWS installed monitors on wells and it is searching for other water well sources. Three wells have not been operational out of precaution from the oil spill.
Pahinui said, “We are pursuing all avenues for reimbursement for the money we’re putting out to look at to put in monitoring wells, new water wells, exploratory wells but we can’t wait so we have to start looking at what we’re doing now in getting the permits and finding locations.”
The BWS is taking public feedback on the proposed increases, the first rate increase is expected in February.