The Board of Water Supply develops technology to turn seawater into fresh water

Sponsored by Board of Water Supply

Desalination is a process in which seawater is filtered through reverse osmosis. Saltwater molecules are filtered out through the process resulting in clean, fresh water. “The Board of Water Supply has been contemplating sea water desalination for decades, and its exciting to finally get to a point where we can build this thing,” says Program Administrator Barry Usagawa.

Desalination plants are common around the world, and Barry says the process of reverse osmosis is safe. The Kalaeloa Seawater Desalination Plant is the first of its kind in the state and its purpose is to transform seawater into drinking water. The process starts when salt water is pulled from a well. Once treated, the fresh water is pumped into the system while the remaining brine is injected into the ground.

“There’s a right time for everything and desalination is the right time,” says Barry. Since Hawaii is reaching its source capacity for water, the Board of Water Supply is diversifying its water sources to create a resilient water supply. Studies show a decreasing trend in future rainfall, making Hawaii more susceptible to droughts and declining water levels in its aqueducts. The abundance of seawater surrounding Hawaii provides a reliable resource to draw from.

The Board of Water Supply has a program called Imagine a Day Without Water 2021, which brings awareness to the importance of water conservation. Please visit for more information!

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