GO TO: Account Portal | Automatic Bill Payment | Backflow Prevention | Credit Card Acceptance | Fraud Protection | General Questions | General Water Service | Paying My Bill | Power Cost Adjustment | Project Review | Water Meter | Water Rates

Account Portal FAQ

Why is the BWS notifying customers about changes to its online payment site?

Starting September 2021, the BWS has a new account portal. New features give customers control over their account information.

We are notifying existing online users that they need to reregister to use the new account portal. We also want to assure our customers that the new site is legitimate and not a scam.  

I am an existing customer who wants to update my customer account information. What do I need to do?

Existing customers who are interested in updating their account service holder name or advising the BWS of a new contact phone number, mailing address, change of employment, or automatic bill payment termination may contact our Customer Service call center at (808) 748-5000 or they may register to use the BWS account portal. Once registered, customers will be able to submit changes to their account information online. To register, go to https://myaccount.boardofwatersupply.com.

What are the new features on the new account portal?

The new account portal provides customers with control over their BWS account.

  • Update your account profile (new feature)
  • Start/stop service (new feature).
  • Go “green” with paperless billing.
  • Communicate with BWS via secure messaging to report billing issues and concerns (new feature).

Additional features are available for single-family residential accounts only:

  • Online bill payment using Visa, MasterCard, and Discover card with no card processing fee.
  • Allow for guest payments on an account (new feature).

How do I register to use the new account portal?

To register, you will need your account number. Find your account number on your bill or call the BWS at 748-5030 to request for it, then go to www.boardofwatersupply.com and click on “View or Pay Bills Online” or “Account” to be directed to the site.

I am an existing online payment user. Do I need to re-register to use the new account portal?

Yes, you will need to register on the new account portal to use it for the first time. After you register:

  • check to make sure your account profile is up-to-date,
  • re-enroll for paperless billing, and
  • update your bookmark for future use.

Can I arrange for automatic online bill payment via my credit card?

We do not offer this service currently. It may become available in a future upgrade.

How secure is my account information and payment on the new account portal?

The BWS has safeguards in place to ensure safe transactions and protection of customers’ personal information with security questions and a CAPTCHA challenge.

If I experience problems with registering for the new account portal, who can I call for help?

For questions or assistance with registering, please contact the BWS Customer Care staff during office hours 7:45 AM to 4:30 PM, Mondays through Fridays:

Automatic Bill Payment FAQ

What is Automatic Bill Payment (ABP)?

Through the Automatic Bill Payment (ABP) service, your participating bank, savings and loan, or credit union can pay your water (and sewer) bill by automatically deducting the amount due from your financial account.

What happens when I sign up for an Automatic Bill Payment?

Your financial institution automatically deducts the amount due for your water (and sewer) bill from your checking or savings account.

How can I sign up for Automatic Bill Payment?

Mail a completed Automatic Bill Payment (ABP) Authorization Form to:

Board of Water Supply
Customer Care Division - Collection and Credit
630 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96843

When will the Financial Institution deduct it from my account?

Deductions will be made ten (10) days after your water bill is mailed, giving you enough time to review the bill and, if necessary, call the Board of Water Supply (BWS).

How much does this ABP service cost?

It's free.

May I stop payment at any time?

You may stop any automatic payment by contacting your financial institution three (3) or more business days before the payment is scheduled to be made. The stop payment may be subject to a charge by your financial institution.

What happens if there are insufficient funds in my account?

The returned payment will be subject to established charges for a returned check. If two (2) payments are returned during a 12-month period, your Automatic Bill Payment will be terminated.

Who may I call if I have any questions about Automatic Bill Payment?

Call the Customer Care Division of the Board of Water Supply at (808) 748-5020. Or contact us via e-mail at customerservice@hbws.org.

Backflow Prevention FAQ

What is the Cross-Connection Control Section?

The Cross-Connection Control Section (CCCS) is part of the Board of Water Supply's (BWS's) Customer Care Division. It reviews constructions plans for cross-connection control (CCC), conducts field inspections of backflow prevention assembly (BFPA) installations tests the Board's own backflow prevention assemblies, conducts customer education on the importance of cross-connection control and manages the Board's Annual Backflow Prevention Assembly Testing Program.

What is a "cross-connection"?

A cross-connection is a connection between a public water system or consumer's potable (i.e., drinking) water system and any source or system containing nonpotable water or other substances.

What is "backflow"?

Backflow is the flow of nonpotable water or other substances through a cross-connection and into the piping of a public water system or consumer's potable water system.

What is a backflow prevention assembly?

A backflow prevention assembly is a mechanical device installed in your private property after the water meter. It prevents water already in your property pipes from "backflowing" into the City water system, possibly contaminating the City's potable water system.

Are there different types of backflow preventers?

Yes, there are several different types of backflow preventers available:

  • Air Gap (AG)
  • Reduced Pressure Backflow Prevention Assembly (RP)
  • Double Check Backflow Prevention Assembly (DC)
  • Pressure Vacuum Breaker (PVB)
  • Atmospheric Vacuum Breaker (AVB)
  • Spill-Proof Pressure Vacuum Breaker (SVB)

The Board of Water Supply recognizes all of these - except the AVB - as acceptable forms of cross-connection control because they can be tested and repaired in-line.

My backflow preventer is installed. Now what?

A Certified Backflow Prevention Assembly Tester must test the device. The certified tester will test your new backflow prevention assembly to ensure that it works and will then fill out a Backflow Prevention Installation and Test form. This form should have been given to you that you when construction plans were being processed for a building permit. The Installation and Test form will be given to you from the Certified Tester. You must sign the bottom portion of the form (Assembly Owner Signature), make a copy for your records and mail, fax or email the completed form to:

Board of Water Supply
Cross-Connection Control Section
630 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96843
Fax: (808) 550-5550
Email: cccs@hbws.org

What kinds of hazards do appropriate backflow assemblies prevent?

Backflow prevention controls two types of hazards: pollution and contamination of your drinking water supply. A pollutant is any substance which affects the color or odor of the water, but does not pose a health hazard. A contaminant causes illness or death when ingested.

Why do I have to test my backflow preventer every year?

To ensure that the device is functioning properly. With the exception of the air gap, BFPAs are mechanical units that have internal seals, springs, and moving parts that are subject to fouling, wear, or fatigue. The annual test ensures a properly functioning BFPA, and certifies that the BFPA has not been removed or had a by-pass line installed around it. Air gaps may be tested by conducting a visual inspection.

Does my backflow preventer have to be installed immediately behind my meter?

No, but that is the preferred location. The backflow prevention assembly must be installed on "private property." If the backflow prevention assembly cannot be installed immediately behind the meter, the Board of Water Supply (BWS) will allow the BFPA to be installed somewhere more convenient within the property, but the location must be approved by the CCCS. There can be no connections to the water line between the meter and the BFPA. If the water line passes through a landscaped area, the BWS requires the water line to be concrete jacketed.

Can my backflow preventer be installed in an underground box or vault?

No, because this allows the assembly to become submerged in the underground box or vault. It also poses safety hazards to the individual testing and maintaining the BFPA.

What happens if I don't install a required backflow preventer?

Failure to install the required type of BFPA could result in termination of water service as indicated in the Board of Water Supply (BWS) Rules and Regulations Section 2-213. The BWS will work with you to have the required BFPA installed.

I lost my current Backflow Prevention Assembly Test Form. How do I get another?

Call the Cross-Connection Control Section at (808) 748-5470 and request that a copy be emailed, faxed or mailed to you. You will need your water bill account number or the backflow preventer ID number so the correct test form can be sent to you.

I'm a farmer and I want to apply for Agricultural Water Rates, what are the backflow requirements for my situation?

The Board of Water Supply (BWS) requires a Reduced Pressure Principle Backflow Prevention Assembly (PR) to be installed immediately behind your meter and in front of any trees or branches. The installation of the RP must be verified by one of the CCCS technicians prior to conversion to Agricultural Water Rate.

I have an irrigation system installed at my home; do I need to install a backflow preventer?

Cross-connection control requirements for irrigation systems serving single-family detached dwellings are under the jurisdiction of the City's Department of Planning and Permitting.

We need to install a large backflow prevention assembly, but it's ugly and we want to hide it from view. Is this allowed?

Yes. The CCCS will work with you and try to find the best location or solution for your particular place of business.

How do I know when my device needs to be checked?

The Board of Water Supply (BWS) maintains a database containing all of the permitted backflow devices on Oahu. When your device is due to be tested, the BWS will notify you and provide you with a list of certified backflow prevention assembly testers. It is the customer's responsibility to schedule the test. The customer will also be provided with a backflow prevention device test form.

Credit Card Acceptance Policy FAQ

When will the change in credit card acceptance policy begin?

Effective January 1, 2017, the BWS will accept credit card payments from residential single-family accounts only.

View all the new credit card acceptance policy FAQ in PDF format.

Why is the BWS only accepting credit card payments from single-family residential customers?

The BWS has been absorbing the fees the bank charges for the processing of credit card transactions. Unfortunately, due to the renewed terms of the BWS’s contract with the bank, the BWS can no longer afford to include non-residential customers (customers who are not billed at the single-family residential water rate) in this payment option.

View all the new credit card acceptance policy FAQ in PDF format.

Which customer classes are affected by this change?

Customers who are not billed at the single-family residential water rate are affected by this change. This includes multi-family residential, agricultural, non-residential, and non-potable water customer accounts.

View all the new credit card acceptance policy FAQ in PDF format.

Does this change affect both the water bill and sewer bill?

Yes as payments for both are handled by the Board of Water Supply. The credit card acceptance policy applies to all bills for accounts that do not pay the single-family residential rate either for water or sewers.

View all the new credit card acceptance policy FAQ in PDF format.

What payment options remain available for customers affected by the change in the payment acceptance policy?

Customers affected by this change may still use alternative methods of payment such as cash, check, or automatic deductions from their checking or savings account.

View all the new credit card acceptance policy FAQ in PDF format.

Which credit cards are accepted to make a payment? What about debit cards?

BWS only accepts Visa or MasterCard credit card payments for single-family residential accounts.

**NOTE: Effective January 1, 2017, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply will accept credit card payments for single-family residential accounts only. Learn more.**

Who may I contact if I have additional questions?

For more information about the change or any questions regarding your account, please call the BWS Customer Care Division at (808) 748-5030.

View all the new credit card acceptance policy FAQ in PDF format.

Fraud Protection FAQ

Employee impersonator scams

In recent years, there have been reports of individuals claiming to be utility employees in order to gain access to the homes of customers under the guise of a service-related visit. Here are some tips to help protect yourself against fraud.

  • The BWS will not show up unannounced at your property to conduct leak detection, high meter readings, or to assess water quality.
  • The BWS does not schedule appointments outside its regular business hours of 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday-Friday.
  • BWS personnel will be properly credentialed and will present their City and County of Honolulu identification badge when asked. The badge will list the agency as BWS.
  • BWS staff will wear official work attire bearing the the agency logo and will drive BWS vehicles when they are in the field. For photos of official BWS attire or official BWS vehicles, see our Consumer Alert page.

Reminder:

When in doubt, either call the BWS at 748-5000 to confirm the validity of an individual claiming to be a BWS employee, or call the Honolulu Police Department at 9-1-1. You may also call the BWS Communications Office at 748-5041 to file an additional report about suspicious encounters.

Phone scams

In recent years, there have been reports of aggressive and fraudulent telephone calls by individuals claiming to be BWS employees and demanding water bill payments be made under threat of immediate disconnection of water service. When the BWS needs to collect past due payments for water service:

  • The BWS does not call customers outside its regular business hours, Monday-Friday, 7:45 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
  • The BWS does not call customers, demand payment, and collect payment all in the same phone call.
  • If a customer is contacted regarding overdue payment, he or she will be asked to call the BWS at 748-5030 to make a credit card or debit card payment.

Reminder:

If you receive unexpected and/or aggressive phone calls from individuals demanding water bill payment, ask for the individual's name and phone number, and say you will call them back. Do not provide them with any information about your account. Then call the BWS at 748-5030 to confirm your account status.

Text message scams

Scammers now are trying to steal your personal information by sending out fake service disconnection notices by text and demanding payment under threat of immediate disconnection. This is a scam! Should you receive a text from someone claiming to represent the Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS), DON’T respond or dial any phone number provided in the text message. BWS will never send out notifications of this importance via text.

The BWS does not send out disconnection notices by text, email or phone. BWS sends a field collector to the customer’s location about 2 weeks prior to the anticipated service disconnection date and instructs customers to direct dial 748-5030 regarding any questions or concerns.

If you are ever concerned about your account status, call the BWS Customer Care division at 748-5030.

Top tips on how to avoid a scam

If you receive a suspicious visit, call, email or text:

  • DO NOT make payment
  • DO NOT share personal information
  • Call BWS at (808) 748-5000 x2 to confirm your account balance
  • Report the scam to BWS at (808) 748-5041 or contactus@hbws.org

General FAQ

Where is the Board of Water Supply office?

The Board of Water Supply administrative headquarters and customer service lobby are located at its Public Service Building at:

Board of Water Supply
630 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96843
(get directions)

Does BWS offer language assistance?

Yes, the Board of Water Supply has Language Assistance Program. For more information:

BWS Language Assistance Signage
Look for signs around the lobby of the Public Service Building and other public spaces at the Beretania Complex.

Language-Logo-Large.jpg     512px-American_Sign_Language_ASL-svg.png

How do I request access to public records of the Board of Water Supply?

The Honolulu Board of Water Supply and the City and County of Honolulu are committed to transparency and openness between government and community we serve. Individuals requesting access to public records (financial statements, reports, etc.) under Chapter 92F, Hawaii Revised Statutes must complete a Request to Access Government Record form to access these records. The form is available on the State of Hawaii, Office of Information Practices website in PDF (printable) or Word (editable) format. Completed forms may be submitted electronically to contactus@hbws.org or delivered to:

Honolulu Board of Water Supply
630 South Beretania Street
Honolulu, HI 96843

Fees and Costs

Please be advised that records requests are subject to fees and costs associated with searching, reviewing, segregating, and transmitting records to the requestor. Fees and costs must be paid at the BWS cashier's desk at 630 South Beretania Street. Cash, check, Visa, or MasterCard payment is accepted. Please note the automatic public interest waiver, as well as the exemption of Revised Ordinances of Honolulu (ROH) costs. View the complete fees and costs chart, which includes Hawaii Administrative Rules (HAR), Revised Charter of City & County of Honolulu (RCH), ROH, and Office of Information Practices (OIP) references.

Fees

  • Search: $2.50 per 15 minutes or fraction thereof
  • Review/Segregate: $5 per 15 minutes or fraction thereof

Waiver Applied to Fees

  • Mandated Waiver: First $30
  • Public Interest Waiver: First $60, if City agency grants waiver based on determination that statement of reasons meets criteria

Costs (other lawful fees)

  • Photocopies: $0.50 for first page and $0.25 per page thereafter
  • Postage Cost: Actual Cost
  • Other Handling/Transmission: Actual Cost
  • Compact Disc Cost: Actual Cost
  • Exemption of ROH: Costs May exempt from payment of ROH costs if City agency makes determination: government agencies (for official purposes) and organizations with reciprocal agreements with City agency; nonprofit organizations (directly concerned with matter in record), newspapers, students (studying City operation for school assignment) (limit to one copy

Prepayment of Fees and Costs

  • Fees: 50%
  • Costs: 100%
  • Outstanding Prior Requests: 100%

For More Information

Agency or Branch Phone Inquiries
State of Hawaii, Office of Information Practices (808) 586-1400  Fees and costs assessed for copies of government records under Chapter 92F, Hawaii Revised Statutes
BWS Communications Office (808) 748-5041 BWS records

General Water Service FAQ

I am moving into a single family residence. How do I get a water service account set up?

You may submit a start service request via online form. Or, you may call the Customer Service team at (808) 748-5030.

  • Provide the following information:
    • Your name
    • Your new address for water service
    • The date you want to start water service (also known as the "effective date")
    • The billing address (if different from your new place of residence)
    • Contact information (home/business/cell phone numbers)
    • Employment information
    • Letter of Credit from your last utility (if available)

Also indicate whether you are the dwelling owner or renter. If you are a renter, we'll need your landlord or property manager's information.

Is there a deposit or hook up fee?

A deposit fee may be charged.

How often do I get billed?

Beginning January 2013, all residential and non-residential customers will be billed monthly.

Why did I receive an estimated bill?

We try to have your meter read each billing period. However, if for some reason we are unable to do so, we will estimate your consumption based on your recent average water usage.

What if I need to set up new water service for a vacant lot?

Please call the Customer Service, Service Engineering team at (808) 748-5460.

What if I am adding a new home to my property?

Please call the Customer Service, Service Engineering team at (808) 748-5460.

  • Review the Checklist for Residential Projects.
  • Provide the following information:
    • Building permit application
    • Building file and job site plans
  • If requested:
    • Water allocation letter
    • Conditions for Water Service Above the Service Limit form

What if I am adding or renovating my existing home?

Please call the Customer Service, Service Engineering team at (808) 748-5460.

What if I have more than one dwelling on my property and would like a separate meter?

Please call the Customer Service, Service Engineering team at (808) 748-5460.

What if I am building new non-residential development on a vacant lot?

Please call the Customer Service, Service Engineering team at (808) 748-5460.

What if I am adding or renovating an existing non-residential development?

Please call the Customer Service, Service Engineering team at (808) 748-5460.

What do I do if I am building a new multi-unit residential development on a vacant lot?

Please call the Customer Service, Project and Plans Review team at (808) 748-5440.

What if my development requires the installation of a 3-inch or larger meter?

Please call the Customer Service, Project and Plans Review team at (808) 748-5440.

  • Construction plans for the installation of the 3-inch or larger meter must be submitted for BWS review and approval.

How to I request water temporarily for construction purposes?

Please call the Customer Service, Service Engineering team at (808) 748-5460.

What if I need water for agricultural purposes?

Please call the Customer Service, Service Engineering team at (808) 748-5460.

  • Determine to which water district you belong.
  • Complete and submit irrigation water management plan with the following information:
    • Type of crop production
    • Crop irrigation requirements
    • Type of irrigation system

Upon establishing the agricultural water service, you will receive an agricultural packet if you wish to apply for agricultural water rate.

How do I apply for agricultural water rates?

Please call the Customer Service team at (808) 748-5030. You will need to submit the agricultural application along with a copy of your general excise license. (See Sample Request for Water Service for Agricultural Purposes.) You must be farming on a commercial basis. Upon receipt of the application, we will then field investigation. We will make a decision on your application and notify you when we complete the investigation.

Can I get an adjustment if I will be or am refilling my swimming pool?

There is no adjustment on the water used to refill/fill the swimming pool, however, you can make contact with Department of Environmental Service at (808) 768-3330 for any programs they may have regarding refilling/filling the swimming pool.

Can I get an adjustment if I recently put in a new lawn?

There is no adjustment on the water usage, it is billed as read, however, you can make contact with Department of Environmental Service at (808) 768-3330 regarding a possible new lawn adjustment.

Paying My Bill FAQ

I have a question regarding my wastewater bill.

Please call the Department of Environmental Service at (808) 768-3330. Please be advised of sewer service charge increases.

I need help reading my water bill.

Your combined water-and-sewer bill contains charges from two separate City agencies - the Board of Water Supply (BWS) and the Department of Environmental Services (ENV). For more assistance with understanding your water bill, please review this handy guide with locations of key information and details that appear on the bill.

  • English
    How to Read Your Bill
  • Chinese 
    自来水和排污新账单
  • Japanese 
    上下水道料金の新しい請求書
  • Korean 
    새 상수도 및 하수도 고지서
  • Vietnamese 
    Hóa Đơn Cấp Thoát Nước Mới
  • Ilokano 
    Ti Baro a Kuentaan ti Danum ken Tubo
  • Tagalog 
    Ang Bagong Singil (Bill) sa Tubig at Alkantarilya (Sewer)

What are my bill payment options?

To what address do I mail my bill payment?

Please mail your bill payment to:

Board of Water Supply
City and County of Honolulu
P.O. Box 135037
Honolulu, HI 96801-5037

When can I expect my bill?

Beginning January 2013, all residential and non-residential customers will be billed monthly.

What if I don't pay my bill on time?

  • If payment is not received and posted by the Payment Must Reach Us By on your bill, then the amount is past due and a Final Notice will be issued.
  • If you received a Final Notice, the full past due amount must be received and posted by the deadline date or water may be discontinued.
  • If your water is turned off for nonpayment, you will be required to pay the full amount of your bill plus a turn-on charge before water can be restored.

I received a high bill. How can I check for leaks?

To check your property for leaks, please refer to the leak detection section of the BWS website.

I am moving out and would like to make closing arrangements.

Closing date must be current or future dates. The account service holder must complete and submit a stop service form or call us at (808) 748-5030. We will issue you a closing receipt number when you call, which serves as proof that services will be/have been terminated.

All water and sewer charges will continue to be your responsibility until you notify us to terminate service in your name.

Power Cost Adjustment FAQ

What is the Power Cost Adjustment?

The Power Cost Adjustment provides the Board of Water Supply (BWS) with the ability to recover any electrical cost overages above and beyond what was used to calculate the rate increases. Per the Power Cost Adjustment provision, which was approved in the 2006 rate schedule, the Board of Water Supply (BWS) may charge $0.01 per 1,000 gallons of water used for every $600,000 incremental overage. The BWS will annually review and modify the Power Cost Adjustment so that the adjustment only recovers unanticipated energy cost overages from the prior fiscal year.

What is the current Power Cost Adjustment Rate?

From July 1, 2011 to June 30, 2012, the Power Cost Adjustment with be 0.0 cents for every 1,000 gallons of water you use.

Project Review FAQ

Is there water for a property that I want to build on/develop/subdivide?

Submit a written request indicating the Tax Map Key (TMK), proposed development, and the name of a contact person. We try to reply within two weeks.

What is the water pressure at my house?

Please send us a written request with your address or the location of the nearest fire hydrant. We will send flow and pressure data within two weeks.

What is the water allocation for my lot? I want to build more homes for my family to live in.

If you currently have water service, we will credit your lot with the existing fixture units or water meter. If your future plans require additional fixture units or a larger meter, submit a written request indicating the Tax Map Key (TMK), proposed development and the name of a contact person. We try to reply within two weeks.

Water Meter FAQ

What kind of water meter does BWS use?

Board of Water Supply uses five basic types of residential water meters. They are usually located in the public right of way, in ground along the street-side of your property line. That may be in the grass or in the sidewalk.

What does a meter look like?

Each meter uses an odometer-type register, either a traditional scrolling-number readout or one with a display like a digital calculator.

water meter sensus

Who maintains the meter?

Your meter box is maintained by the BWS. Please do not go into the meter box. If you have any questions regarding your water meter, please call us at (808) 748-5000.

How does BWS read the meter?

meter readerBWS reads its water meters by radio signal using a vehicle-mounted radio receiver or visually by a BWS meter reader.

Your Kokua Please: 

Please keep meter box areas clear of debris so that meters are accessible when servicing is needed. Mahalo!

Q&A between BWS and Carroll Cox (April 2019)

The BWS received these questions from Carroll Cox on April 9, 2019. Our responses, as shown below, were provided to Mr. Cox on April 25, 2019. These questions and our responses were subsequently shared with another media outlet. The questions and our complete responses are provided, here, verbatim, in the interest of transparency and for the information of our customers.

Download a PDF version of Q&A Between BWS and Carroll Cox

I am writing to ask your help in providing assistance in obtaining answers to questions we have after claims made on my show by former Board of Water Supply (BWS) Meter Reader Nathan Kau.

1. Was Mr. Kau formerly employed by the BWS? if yes What are the dates?
We are able to verify that Mr. Kau worked with BWS, but any other detailed personnel information would require a signed release from the employee.

2. Did the BWS conduct test of new water meters in the Mililani area? If yes, how many meters were involved in the test?
We do not test meters based on area. We test approximately 10% of the number of meters received.

3. Did any of the meters used in the test fail? If yes how many failed?
None. All meters registers were within the tolerance specified by AWWA.

4. What other areas were tests of new meters recently conducted?
Again, we do not test based on areas. When we receive the meters, we do not know what location it be installed.

5. Did any meters fail during the other tests? If yes, what was the percentage of failures for each test area?
Please define “other tests”.

6. What percentage of the total meters being used by the BWS have failed.
What is the definition of “failed”?

7. How is billing of rate payers handled for the meters that do not work?
In general, if a meter is not working, it will register 0 consumption and we will bill at 0 consumption. If we do not get a read, which could be due to a number of causes, the bill will be estimated by the billing system – this estimate is based on an average of the previous 6-month reads. Generally, a homeowner’s water use does not vary greatly month to month; any meter showing abnormally high or low water usage will be flagged for investigation.

8. There have been reports of two cargo containers full of new, unused “ECR” devices that have not been put into service due to staffing shortages and a contract and compatibility dispute with the seller. Because this impacts the rate-payers ability to have workable and properly maintained equipment to insure accurate billing, I respectfully request all contracts related to the ECR’s be identified and an explanation as to why these have not been installed in replacement of existing broken, stuck or other malfunctioning meters.
We have cargo containers of new unused ECRs and MXUs. These materials will be furnished to a contractor to do our mass MXU change out project. This project will be going out to bid and construction is scheduled to begin later this year. We do not have a contract and compatibility dispute with the seller.

Broken and/or malfunctioning meters are replaced when they are identified, and we have a Field Operations team that handles this.

In addition, due to the long lead time in procuring parts for repair, we need to keep stock on hand.

9. I further have been informed that existing “reading equipment” is either consistently broken, not periodically re-calibrated, and/or there are too few on hand. This, in turn, generates “computer estimates” or other forms of force billing on ratepayers for extended periods of time that is not accurate.
Equipment is repaired and replaced as needed. There is sufficient quantity on hand.

10. Please identify any and all applicable rules and policies to the following areas:

  1. Customer notification of stuck or broken equipment as it specifically pertains to their billing;

    Investigators from Customer Care or Field Operations may contact customers in the course of completing field activities or work orders.
  2. Meter reader rules as it pertains to the use of or monitoring of computers and/or hand-held or mobile devices while driving roadways;

    The equipment is set up prior to going on the road. There should be no time the Water Data Collection Clerk is handling equipment while driving. They are trained to pull over and park (safely and legally) if they need to adjust the equipment. BWS Water Data Collection Clerks are required to follow all the rules of safe driving as put forth by the State of Hawaii. We do have driver training. Please refer to the attached procedures for setting up the equipment prior to going out and reading the meters.
  3. Procedures allowed by BWS as it pertains to altering, changing or amending the types of reads (example: from no read to an AMR read) so as to bill a customer in a timely way;

    We would not change the read.

11. Is there a crew that maintains and cleans meter boxes so that a customer can easily monitor his water usage;
No specific field crew only cleans/maintains meter boxes. If work needs to be done in a meter box, the box will be cleaned.

12. A list of all “pilot projects” as it pertains to testing new products and software prior to purchasing said items in bulk;
This request is very broad – pls specify types of pilot projects you are interested in.

13. Any and all documents that insures the public safety from radio waves associated with AMR devices that can” alledgedly” be awakened and read from a central location miles away.
BWS relies on manufacturers to provide equipment that meets all federal regulations (if any) required for them to sell equipment that does not threaten public health and safety. BWS adheres to all manufacturer recommended installation and operation practices. For more information regarding the radio waves emitted from the equipment we use please refer to the following: https://sensus.com/rf.

Water Rates & Charges FAQ

Why does the BWS need to raise rates?

  • We need to gradually ramp up pipeline replacement over the next decade, increasing from 6 miles every year to 21 miles. This, over time, will work to significantly reduce main breaks from the current 300-350 per year to about 250 per year.
  • Projects will be launched to renew or replace higher risk pumps and reservoirs. Pumps are the “heart” of the water system and are critical for reliable water delivery.
  • Oahu’s water supply must be made more sustainable by establishing new fresh-water wells, expanding water recycling facilities, building the island’s first seawater desalination plant, and developing a sharpened focus on conservation and watershed protection. Partnerships on-island and throughout the water industry will ensure we employ the best water-management practices as well as research and development.

What benefits can I expect as a result of these rate increases?

  • Reliability and resiliency of our water system will increase.
  • The number of main breaks will decrease over time.
  • Increased investments in conservation will preserve existing supplies and defer the need for new ones.
  • Targeted funding for watershed protection will help us adapt to a changing climate.

When will the rate increase take effect?

The rate increase takes effect on July 1, 2019.  Customers will see these effects on their bill once their billing period begins on July 1, 2019, or later. The BWS is reminding customers in advance of the rate changes.

What changes has the BWS made to the water rate structure?

Changes to the rate structure are designed to encourage water conservation and more equitably recover the cost to provide water service for each type of customer, e.g. single-family residential, multi-unit residential, non-residential, etc. Rate changes vary by customer type, with the goal of everyone paying closer to their fair share of the cost to deliver water to them.

  • A monthly customer charge based on the size of the meter replaces the flat rate billing charge. Most single-family residences have a 5/8-inch or ¾-inch meter. Multi-unit residential complexes have meters that vary from 3 to 8 inches. A monthly customer charge based on meter size distributes costs for service more fairly, with those with larger meters paying more, as larger meters require more resources for maintenance and repair. The monthly charge covers the costs of servicing and replacing meters, reading meters, billing, and related customer and administrative services.
  • A NEW Essential Needs Tier to support affordability and reward conservation. ALL residential customers will get a below-cost rate for their first 2,000 gallons of water used. 10% of all BWS single-family residential customers use less than 2,000 gallons per month. The Essential Needs Tier will benefit those on fixed and/or low incomes and reward those customers who use water very efficiently.
  • Single family residential customers will see the highest increase in their water rates (stand-alone households and duplexes). As a group, these customers currently pay less than 90% of the cost to serve them. Other customer classes subsidize the rest of the costs by paying more than their fair share.
  • Multi-unit residential customers will see smaller increases as rates are adjusted over time to eliminate the subsidy to single family residential customers.
  • Customers with private fire protection systems will no longer pay for incidental water use, but instead will pay a monthly fire meter standby charge, reflecting the “readiness to serve” cost to provide water for private fire service 24/7, 365 days a year.

How will the new rates affect my water bill?

Effective July 1, 2019, your rates will change. Depending on the amount of water you use, your water charges may decrease slightly or increase. See calculations for single-family residences below or, for more details on how to read your bill, view a copy of the Summer 2019 edition of Water Matters.
rates and charges tablesample single-family residential water bill calculations

How are BWS rate increases approved?

The BWS Board of Directors conducted an extensive analysis of proposed rate changes, including holding a rates workshop in January 2018, receiving monthly updates from the BWS staff on the rates setting process, and holding five public hearings throughout the island for public input. Public input was given full consideration during the Board’s deliberations prior to their approval of the rates.

At its August 2018 meeting, the Board of Directors adopted the new 5-year schedule of rates to take effect in September 2018, with actual rate increases and tier changes starting in July 1, 2019.

When did BWS last increase its rates?

BWS’s last rate increase took effect July 1, 2015, when the system-wide rate was increased by approximately 9.65 percent.

Will the water rate increases go to fund sewer projects?

No, the funds generated by water rates are dedicated to funding BWS’s capital and operational costs for the drinking water system only.  Sewer services are provided by Wastewater Management under the City Department of Environmental Services, ph. no. (808) 768-3330.

What is BWS doing to keep our rates down?

The BWS is committed to cost-efficient operations, and is doing many things to keep costs down. 

Every year the BWS carefully reviews its operating budget, exploring opportunities to increase efficiency and reduce costs in every aspect of our operations.  This includes exploring ways to optimize energy management and facility operations.  It also includes controlling the size of its workforce by balancing staffing levels to provide the services needed to maintain, repair, and replace its facilities.

In the past two fiscal years, the BWS has reduced its operating expenses by 2 percent each year.

An important factor for keeping rates down, the BWS will use a balance of both cash and bonds to pay for capital costs.

How will increased construction activities by BWS affect the community?

Oahu's water system was built along roadways and public areas throughout the island.  As the BWS continues to work to renew our aging system, it recognizes that residents and businesses will be inconvenienced by construction activities. 

The BWS is committed to work with residents and businesses to manage those impacts as well as we possibly can.  Some of the things BWS is doing to manage the impacts of construction include:

  • Coordinating timing of our construction projects with other agencies so we can schedule projects to minimize long-term disruptions in construction areas.
  • Providing information to neighborhood boards and elected officials in affected areas in advance of construction, so they know what to expect and can plan accordingly.
  • Sending letters to affected residents of water system improvement projects in their neighborhood.
  • Stopping all construction work, except any required emergency repairs, around major holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas). 

By keeping our system in good working order through planned replacement and repairs, the BWS is helping to avoid unplanned repairs that can mean greater inconveniences and higher costs. 

Who do I contact if I still have questions?

For more information on the BWS and water rates, please visit our website at boardofwatersupply.com/waterrates or contact the BWS Communications Office, at (808) 748-5041.

Updated: 09/01/2021