The state Department of Land and Natural Resources has appointed Kaleo Manuel as the next deputy of the state Commission on Water Resources Management.
Manuel, currently the acting planning program manager with the state Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, would replace outgoing deputy Jeffrey Pearson. The appointment is subject to confirmation by the Commission on Water Resources Management. If confirmed, he begins his new position Jan. 28.
“Kaleo has a wealth of experience in the complicated field of water resource management and brings both western educational training and traditional Hawaiian values to the position,” said DLNR chair Suzanne Case in a news release. “We are at a pivotal point of opportunity in Hawaii to bring balance to water resource use and protection — in-stream, downstream and off-stream – consistent with the public trust, including aquatic life restoration and traditional and customary practices such as taro farming, as well as diversified agriculture for food security.”
Manuel holds a bachelor’s degree in Hawaiian Studies, and master’s in Urban and Regional Planning, in addition to a graduate certificate in historic preservation from the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is also a hoopaa (chanter/drummer) graduate of kumu hula Victoria Holt Takamine’s Halau Pua Ali‘i ‘Ilima.
Over the past seven years, DLNR said Manuel has focused on bringing planning and indigenous expertise to the fields of water advocacy and management in Hawaii, and hopes to empower, inspire, and reconnect indigenous, island, Pacific, and world communities.
“Ola i ka wai – water is life,” said Manuel in a statement. “I am excited for the opportunity to join with Gov. Ige, chair Case, and the water commission staff to continue the collaborative work of this administration in protecting and managing water throughout Hawaii. As a public trust resource, it is our collective kuleana to be responsible stewards of water for current and future generations.”