30 LEGISLATORS URGE THE HONOLULU BOARD OF WATER SUPPLY TO PRIORITIZE AFFORDABLE HOUSING

30 LEGISLATORS URGE THE HONOLULU BOARD OF WATER SUPPLY TO PRIORITIZE AFFORDABLE HOUSING IF A DEVELOPMENT MORATORIUM IS ENACTED



Senator Jarrett Keohokalole, in his capacity as Chair of the Committee on Health, sent a letter today with 29 legislative co-signers to the manager and chief engineer of the Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS) to urge that "should more draconian steps become necessary, affordable housing development be prioritized in the issuance of water meters."


Ernest Lau and other administrative members of the Board took part in an informational briefing yesterday before the joint Committees on Health, Water and Land. They presented an update on the current capacity status of O‘ahu’s supply in light of the shutdown of three wells due to the leakage of the Red Hill fuel supply tanks back in November 2021. The BWS also presented a framework to implement further water conservation steps as the island expects a drought to continue through the summer months. Those plans could include a moratorium on new construction on O‘ahu.


“Yesterday's presentation was alarming. Rationing a resource as necessary as water will hurt the poor and disadvantaged disproportionately and inequitably,” the senator wrote. “During these difficult and uncertain times ahead, we ask that you and the Board consider principles of equity should continue–or more drastic–water conservation measures need to be taken." Examples could include the prioritization of affordable housing prior to a construction moratorium and restrictions on recreational and luxury water uses like swimming pools and fountains.

Senator Keohokalole’s letter was co-signed by:


Senate Members: Acasio, Chang, Fevella, Gabbard, Inouye, Keith-Agaran, Kim, Lee, Misalucha, Nishihara, San Buenaventura, Shimabukuro, and Wakai.


House Members: Gates, Hashem, Holt, Ichiyama, LoPresti, Lowen, Marten, Matayoshi, Ohno, Okimoto, Perruso, Takayama, Takumi, Tam, Wildberger, and Yamane.