HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

968

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

RELATING TO THE COUNTY BOARDS OF WATER SUPPLY.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


Section 1. Article XII, section 2, of the state constitution states in part that "The State and its people do further agree and declare that the spirit of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act looking to the continuance of the Hawaiian homes projects for the further rehabilitation of the Hawaiian race shall be faithfully carried out." This obligation held by the State is also held by the counties, which are under article VIII of the state constitution political subdivisions of the State.

Furthermore, the lack of available water has been and remains a significant barrier to the State's ability to faithfully carry out Hawaiian homes projects. The county boards and departments of water supply have no administrative rules or policies for differentiating and prioritizing the development and provision of water for Hawaiian homes projects when compared to other State or even private projects and, therefore, some counties have treated the department of Hawaiian home lands like any other developer.

Furthermore, working with the department of Hawaiian home lands, the commission on water resource management has set some ground water and surface water reservations for Hawaiian homes projects on Kaua`i, O`ahu, Moloka`i, Lāna`i, Maui, and Hawai`i islands, and continues to set additional reservations in partial fulfillment of the requirements of section 174C-101(a), Hawaii Revised Statutes.

Furthermore, this necessary action by the commission on water resource management will result in being nothing more than the noting of numbers on paper unless the counties as political subdivisions of the State, and particularly their boards and departments of water supply, fulfill their legal obligations to faithfully take actions within their powers to fulfill the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act in spirit and practice.

The purpose of this Act is to clarify requirements on the county boards of water supply to fulfill the Constitutional mandate.

SECTION 2. Chapter 54, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by adding to part II a new section to be appropriately designated and to read as follows:

"54- County boards of water supply and their obligation to the department of hawaiian home lands. (a) Prior to June 30 of each fiscal year, each board of water supply shall transmit to the department of Hawaiian home lands an accounting of all water credits held by the county for all of their respective systems. The department of Hawaiian home lands shall inform the counties by no later than September 30 of that same fiscal year the number of credits it requires for its uses under section 221 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. The boards shall reserve those credits for the use of the department of Hawaiian home lands and not allocate them to any other user unless the department of Hawaiian home lands surrenders those credits.

(b) In the negotiation of any water development, water credit, or similar agreement, the counties shall not withhold any water developed by the department of Hawaiian home lands for the board of water supply's own use and allocation, but shall instead credit the department of Hawaiian home lands the full amount of credits justified by the water development.

(c) Each board of water supply shall develop policies to implement in case of water shortage that do not call for equal percentage reductions in use, but rather first require reductions in non public trust uses of water, including the uses on Hawaiian home lands under section 221 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.

(d) No later than July 30, 2022, each board of water supply shall apply for water licenses of any waters they develop or have in their system emanating from state lands, under section 171-58.

(e) This section shall apply to the board of water supply and the counties notwithstanding any provisions in a county charter or ordinance to the contrary."

SECTION 3. Section 54-12, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"54-12 Board of water supply. If a county does not have an existing board of water supply, there shall be a board of water supply for each county consisting of seven members of whom five shall be nominated, and by and with the advice and consent of the council, appointed by the mayor, provided that at least one of the five members shall represent the interests to be served by the allocation of water for current and foreseeable development and use of Hawaiian home lands as set forth in section 221 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act, one of whom shall be the state district engineer of the state department of transportation and one of whom shall be the chief engineer of the respective county.

No employee or officer of any county shall be eligible to serve as a board member, except as otherwise provided herein.

The members of the board shall serve without pay, but shall be reimbursed for their reasonable expenses incurred in the discharge of their duties as members of the board.

The term of office of each appointed member of the board shall be five years from the date of the member's appointment; provided that of the initial members one shall be appointed for a term to expire on January 1, 1963; one for a term to expire on January 1, 1964; one for a term to expire on January 1, 1965; one for a term to expire on January 1, 1966; and one for a term to expire on January 1, 1967. Any vacancy occurring on the board shall be filled in accordance with the foregoing provisions for the unexpired portion of the term concerned."

SECTION 4. Section 54-52, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"54-52 Appointment. The eight appointive members of the board of water supply shall be appointed by the chairperson of the council of the county, with the approval of the council[.], provided that at least two of the eight members shall represent the interests to be served by the allocation of water for current and foreseeable development and use of Hawaiian home lands as set forth in section 221 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act. The chairperson shall likewise designate the chairperson of the board of water supply from among the appointive members. The members of the board shall serve without pay, but shall be reimbursed for their reasonable expenses. Each member of the board shall be, at the time of the member's appointment, an elector of the county of Hawaii and shall have been such for at least three years next preceding the member's appointment. Any member of the board may be removed from office by the chairperson of the council of the county, with the approval of the council.

Membership of the board shall include four members who are residents of the district of North or South Hilo[;], provided that at least one of the four members shall represent the interests to be served by the allocation of water for current and foreseeable development and use of Hawaiian home lands as set forth in section 221 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act and; one of the four members shall be the person who for the time being shall be the legal incumbent of the office of the chief engineer of the department of public works of the county. In addition, one member shall be a resident of the district of North Kona or South Kona, one member shall be a resident of the district of North Kohala or South Kohala, one member shall be a resident of the district of Hamakua, one member shall be a resident of the district of Puna, and one member shall be a resident of the district of Kau. Of these five members from different geographic regions of the county of Hawaii, at least one of the five members shall represent the interests to be served by the allocation of water for current and foreseeable development and use of Hawaiian home lands as set forth in section 221 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.

The term of office of the appointive members of the board shall be five years from and after the date of their respective appointments. Any vacancy occurring on the board shall be filled by appointment. The one appointed to fill the vacancy shall serve only for the unexpired term of the person whom the appointive member succeeds. Officers and employees of the county of Hawaii shall not be eligible for appointive membership on the board."

SECTION 5. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 6. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

BY REQUEST


 


 

Report Title:

County Boards of Water Supply; Department of Hawaiian Home Lands

 

Description:

Clarifies requirements on the County Boards of Water Supply. Adds representation on the County Boards of Water Supply of the interests to be served by the allocation of water for current and foreseeable development and use of Hawaiian Home Lands as set forth in section 221 of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act.

 

 

 

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