Deputy Director

The duties of the Deputy Director for Water Resource Management are to administer and implement, under the direction of the Commission, the State Water Code and all rules, and other directives promulgated by the Commission. The Deputy Director must have experience in the area of water resources and is appointed by the Chairperson, subject to the approval of a majority of the Commission.

M. Kaleo Manuel, Deputy Director

Deputy Director M. Kaleo Manuel (Photo credit: The Obama Foundation)

Kaleo Manuel holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Hawaiian Studies, a Master’s Degree in Urban and Regional Planning, and a Graduate Certificate in Historic Preservation, all from the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. He previously served as the Acting Planning Program Manager with the Hawai‘i Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, a 200,000 acre trust established by Prince Jonah Kūhiō Kalaniana‘ole and Congress, leading a team of planners and community development specialists to create affordable housing and homestead communities for native Hawaiians across the state.

Mr. Manuel completed traditional ‘ūniki rites as a Ho‘opa‘a in 2017 with Kumu Hula Victoria Holt-Takamine of Hālau Pua Ali‘i ‘Ilima. His Hawaiian and western educational training serve as equal parts of the foundation for his worldview and his endeavors. Evolving from a land use focus, over the past seven years, Mr. Manuel has focused on bringing planning and indigenous expertise to the fields of water advocacy and management in Hawai‘i. Through his work with water in Hawai‘i, he hopes to empower, inspire, and reconnect our indigenous, island, Pacific, and world communities.

Manuel said, “Ola i ka wai – water is life. I am excited for the opportunity to join with Governor Ige, Chair Case, and the Water Commission staff to continue the collaborative work of this administration in protecting and managing water throughout Hawai‘i. As a public trust resource, it is our collective kuleana to be responsible stewards of water for current and future generations.” Mr. Manuel began working with the Commission on January 28, 2019. (Photo credit: The Obama Foundation)