DOW Receives 2019-2020 Hawai‘i Green Business Award
The Department of Water (DOW) was recently honored as a 2019-2020 Hawai‘i Green Business Award recipient and received a Governor’s Commendation for incorporating environmental-friendly, green practices during its 16th Annual Make a Splash water education festival. A virtual recognition ceremony, held on Dec. 4, 2020, was hosted by the state’s Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism’s (DBEDT) Hawaii Green Business Program (HGBP) partners.
DOW coordinated its 16th Annual Make a Splash with Project WET water education festival with two goals in mind: provide an exciting, interactive water education experience for students and improve the event’s green efforts by applying the HGBP’s checklist of green business recommendations.
“The Kaua‘i Department of Water’s efforts to minimize environmental impact is paramount in all areas of our operations and we are honored to be recognized as a Hawaii Green Business Award recipient this year,” said Kurt Akamine, Board Chair of the Kaua‘i Board of Water Supply. “Providing water education at an environmentally conscious event is a win-win for sustainability on our island and we could not have done it without our hard working staff, partnering agencies and participating residents.”
The Make a Splash with Project WET water education festival is a student-focused event that gathers nearly 800 fifth grade students and teachers for an interactive, hands-on educational experience. Twelve activity stations were offered in 2019 that addressed water topics such as: resource management, conservation, water quality and filtration, environmental impact from natural disasters, importance of drinking water service and more.
“As leaders for water education, we are continuously seeking to improve our approach towards how the community values water and our natural resources,” said Jonell Kaohelauli‘i, DOW’s Information and Education Specialist. Encouraging attendees to bring their own reusable water bottle was an important part of the event’s announcements.
Additionally, preparations for the event included gathering compostable products, recyclable cardboard boxes and recycled papers to be sorted, compiled and prepared for use at the event.
“Environmental impact is taken into consideration in every Department of Water project and our annual water education festival is no different. We took the necessary steps to replace materials with compostable and recycled products; and by doing do, were able to eliminate plastic waste and minimize trash at the event,” Kaohelauli‘i said.
Other green efforts included: activities that featured re-usable supplies, change from paper to email registration forms, offered compostable and recycle bins throughout the event, purchased eco-friendly versions of required event materials; such as: compostable napkins, bags made of recycled materials, etc. Transportation was offered by bus or carpool to and from the event.
After the event, staff collected reusable name-tag holders, cleaned and washed supplies, carefully restored items, and used leftover water from activities to feed grass and plants nearby. In addition to other recommendations aligned with the state’s green business program, no electricity was used during the event.
For more information on DOW’s Make a Splash with Project WET festival, call the Department of Water at 808-245-5461. For more information on the DEDBT’s Hawaii Green Business Program, visit www.greenbusiness.hawaii.gov.