Note: For information on the PUC rate case, see the blue RATE link at the end of this text.
The Kohala Ranch Water Company, or KRWC, is a private system owned by the developer and regulated by the Hawaii Public Uitilities Commission (PUC). It provides water to Kohala Ranch, Kohala Estates, Kohala by the Sea, Kohala Waterfront Joint Venture, and several properties above the Ranch, and has a commitment to provide water to the coastal land directly below the Ranch. It also provides water to the Hawaiian Home Lands to the south - though technically this is a temporary service. In practical terms, it may not be so temporary.
There are four wells at Kohala Ranch, but only two in production. Wells 1 and 2 are right across the street from each other and are considered backup to each other, not intended to be pumped simultaneously. They pump fresh water that floats on brackish water and, further down, salt water.
The pumps can deliver 700 gallons per minute, or about 1,000,000 gallons a day. That's about as much as the aquifer can safely provide on an ongoing basis in that location without the water becoming saltier.
The Water Company has been running both pumps simultaneously at night, in order to take advantage of the lower off-peak electrical rates. It isn't usually considered ideal to be pumping a large volume of water from two wells so close to each other, but there don't seem to be any ill effects so far.
Current storage capacity is 732,000 gallons, and daily usage is already periodically exceeding that amount, so the reservoirs reliably hold a day's consumption at best, and will not be much help in weathering a period of high demand over several days. An additional storage tank is supposed to be added to the system along with the third well.
Since the system is approaching capacity, and it will take a significant amount of time to bring the third well online, that work may need to be started in the next couple of years. It should have been started before now, but the Water Company got a reprieve when their rate increase in 2007 led a cutback in consumption. The slowdown in the economy and therefore in home building has also bought the company some time. In late 2008, KRWC applied for another rate increase, so this may case another decrease in consumption.
The cost of water as shown on your bill may fluctute from month to month, as electrical rates change. The three components of your bill are the base water rate, the Power Cost Adjustment - which normally keeps trending upward, but does sometimes actually come down, and the meter charge.