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  • City And County Of Honolulu Wins Us Water Prize For Outstanding Public Sector Organization

City and County of Honolulu wins US Water Prize for Outstanding Public Sector Organization

HONOLULU -- In recognition of the City and County of Honolulu's (City) One Water climate adaptation policy, the US Water Alliance selected the City as the winner for the US Water Prize 2022 in the Outstanding Public Sector Organization category. The US Water Prize honors outstanding achievements in the advancement of sustainable, integrated, and inclusive solutions to America's water challenges.

The One Water climate adaptation policy and City One Water Panel were established through City Ordinance 20-47 from a research project initiated by the Honolulu Board of Water Supply, community and agency inputs to and City Council adoption of the O‘ahu Resilience Strategy, and a subsequent guidance document produced by the City's Climate Change Commission. One Water Honolulu is a strategy to coordinate holistic water resource management in the face of climate change across all forms of water, for example, stormwater, wastewater, freshwater, graywater, and recycled water. It creates resource and financial efficiencies to address climate change impacts and preserve and conserve precious freshwater resources.

"We see climate change increasingly affect the quantity and quality of our water, anywhere from sea level rise to droughts to flooding," said Matthew Gonser, chief resilience officer and executive director of the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency. "One Water takes an interdepartmental approach in recognizing that effective water management is only possible by coordinating and integrating climate adaptation into water infrastructure and water-impacted infrastructure planning, design, and construction."

The One Water Panel is a collaboration between eight City agencies: the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency; the Board of Water Supply; and the Departments of Design and Construction, Environmental Services, Facility Maintenance, Parks and Recreation, Planning and Permitting, and Transportation Services. The Department of Budget and Fiscal Services also participates.

"The One Water approach has proven to foster innovative and collaborative solutions towards overlapping goals and projects," said Mayor Rick Blangiardi. "It is a great honor for the City to receive this national recognition--it affirms the strong commitment, leadership and shared values that stretch across our departments. As I know they all carry heavy workloads within their respective agency responsibilities, I am encouraged by and proud of the team's dedication to coordinate and try new things to drive execution for our community."

US Water Prize winners were selected from a pool of more than 160 nominations and applications. The City was nominated by the Hawai‘i Community Foundation, who has been an essential partner in statewide efforts of the Hawai‘i Freshwater Initiative working to secure precious freshwater resources through actions of conservation, recharge, and reuse.

"We all have a mutual responsibility to preserve our precious wai for future generations," said Ernest Lau, manager and chief engineer of the Board of Water Supply. "It's refreshing seeing the way the One Water partnership works together to treat water as one interconnected resource, especially while we adapt to increasing impacts from climate change and strain on our freshwater aquifer. I look forward to continue collaborating in this award-winning framework to ensure the most efficient and best use of our island's water resources."

Learn more about the City's One Water strategy at To draw attention to the value of water, multiple One Water agencies will be participating in the virtual Imagine A Day Without Water Forum on October 19th, and the in-person event October 20th from 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. at Tamarind Park and Kapolei Hale; find details at


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