East Hawaii News

Pavao Confirmed as Member of State Water Commission

April 24, 2013, 12:04 PM HST
* Updated April 24, 5:54 PM
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The state Senate on Tuesday unanimously confirmed the nomination of Milton Pavao to the state Commission on Water Resource Management.

Pavao, a licensed engineer who retired in 2011 as the head of the Hawaii County Department of Water Supply, was nominated to the commission by Gov. Neil Abercrombie.

The seven-person commission is charged with administering the State Water Code which is designed to protect Hawaii’s water resources.

A variety of testimony touting Pavao’s experience and qualifications was submitted to the Senate Committee on Water and Land, which held a hearing on the nomination on April 16.

Those testifying included government officials, engineers, organizations such as the Hawaii Cattlemen’s Council, former members of the Hawaii County Water Board and other individuals.

William Aila Jr., chairman of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, said Pavao’s role as head of the Big Island’s water agency was not an easy task.

“The immense size of the island, the relative isolation of many of the communities, and development pressures in Kona presented special challenges,” Aila wrote.

“Mr. Pavao’s background in municipal water supply management and his experience and technical knowledge of water-related issues will be of great value to the commission,” he said.

The nomination was also supported by water supply officials from Kauai, Oahu and Maui, including David Taylor, head of Maui’s Department of Water Supply.

Taylor described Pavao as “more than qualified” to serve as a commissioner.

“As I recall the first time I engaged in conversation with Mr. Pavao, it was clear to me that this man was not only very knowledgeable about Hawaii’s water resources, but also passionate about serving and making a difference in his county,” Taylor wrote.

In a letter to the committee, Pavao noted that he has been involved in water issues for more than 39 years.

“I have had a very rewarding career and being on the Commission of Water Resource Management would be a fulfilling way to give back to my community, island and state and to share the knowledge and experiences I have gained,” he said.

Pavao noted that he has already been working indirectly with the commission.

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He said that during his career with DWS he became aware of the limits to water resources in the Big Island’s Kona district.

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As a result, he helped establish the Kona Water Roundtable to study the issue in open meetings with the guidance of professionals in various fields of expertise, the results of which were shared with the commission.

The Senate on Tuesday also confirmed the nomination of Kamanamaikalani “Kamana” Beamer, an assistant professor at the University of Hawaii, to fill another seat on the water commission.

 Both terms run until June 30, 2107.

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