The State Commission on Water Resource Management will hold two public hearings in August to receive public testimony on the update to the County of Hawaii’s Water Use and Development Plan.
The first hearing will be held at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, August 3, at the Konawaena High School Cafeteria, 31-1043 Konawaena School Road in Kealakekua. The second hearing will be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, August 4, at the Waiakea High School Cafeteria, 155 W. Kawili Street in Hilo.
The Water Use and Development Plan update was prepared by the Hawaii Department of Water Supply to guide the long-range development and conservation of water resources on the island of Hawaii.
“These plans will provide valuable guidance to the Commission as it strives to balance the water needs of humans and the environment, while seeking to ensure the sustainability of natural resources,” said Deputy Director William Tam.
The objective of the plan, which is one of five components of the Hawai‘i Water Plan, is to set forth the allocation of water to land use in the County and inform future land and water use decisions.
Copies of the Water Use and Development Plan update are available on the Water Commission’s website. The plan may also be reviewed at the Hawaii Department of Water Supply Office, 345 Kekuanaoa Street, Ste. 20 in Hilo.
Governor Linda Lingle has nominated Jonathan Likeke Scheuer, Ph.D. to serve as the deputy director of water resources for the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The Governor will submit Scheuer’s name and resume to the Commission on Water Resource Management for its consideration and approval. The Commission will review Scheuer’s nomination at its September 23 meeting.
“Jonathan brings more than two decades of experience in the areas of conservation, water rights, and land acquisition and management, which will be invaluable in guiding the Water Commission as it carries out its responsibilities of managing our water resources,” said Governor Lingle. “In addition to his expertise in environmental policy, Jonathan possesses broad knowledge of native Hawaiian concerns relating to conservation and management of our natural resources.”
For the past decade, Scheuer has been a private consultant to public and private clients on the development of master plans and strategic action plans, including policy analysis, research impact assessment and community relations.
Wailuku Water Company and Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company released water past their diversions in Waihe’e River and North and South Waiehu Streams on August 9, to comply with a recent order issued by the State Commission on Water Resource Management.
The order was a result of contested case hearing initiated by several Maui community groups petitioning to restore streamflows in the Waihe’e River and Waiehu, ‘Iao, and Waikap? Streams, collectively known as Na Wai ‘Eh?.
“The hearing involved very complex issues requiring a careful weighing of instream and offstream uses, but the Commission believes that its decision achieves a good balance to protect the health of the streams, while also providing for beneficial offstream uses and native Hawaiian rights to water,” said Commission Chairperson Laura Thielen. Due to safety concerns, access to the area will be restricted during the releases and people are urged to be aware of rising water levels on both streams throughout the day. Commission staff will accompany representatives from WWC and HC&S to measure and document the releases.
Some users receiving stream water from ditch systems may experience inadequate or a failure in ditch flows as a result of the releases.
The Commission determined that the minimum amount of water that should flow below the Spreckels Ditch on Waihe’e is 10 million gallons per day (mgd), which should result in 6 mgd of water flowing past the stream’s mouth. On Waiehu Stream, a minimum of 1.6 mgd must flow below the diversion on North Waiehu and 0.9 mgd below the Spreckels Ditch diversion on South Waiehu, which should result in 0.6 mgd flowing at the mouth of Waiehu Stream. These minimum flows are referred to as in-stream flow standards.
Hawaii’s Commission on Water Resource Management on May 25 ordered Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar, the last sugar plantation in the island, to give up water rights to another large chunk of the water flow it has relied on.
The move was a compromise, however, leaving the company with permission to continue to use a number of stream flows. In all, 13 stream flow uses were left unchanged. Some variations between wet and dry seasons also were provided for.
And a group of native Hawaiians, who have said the flows to the plantation generally have been disruptive to native traditions, said they planned to challenge it.
Is the Hawaii water law developed over the last few decades threatening to kill off some of the oldest businesses, notably sugar plantations, on Maui?
That question apparently underlies significant parts of the new 210-page report and finding by Lawrence Miike for the state Commission on Water Resource Management. It certainly appears to conclude that there’s no longer enough water on Maui for everyone to continue on doing what they have been doing historically.
In practical terms, Miike said the area’s water picture had developed along a clear track: Continue Reading »
The State Commission on Water Resource Management will hold public hearings statewide in December to solicit public testimony on proposed revisions to the Hawai‘i Water Plan, Water Resource Protection Plan, as mandated by the State Water Code, Chapter 174C, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes.
The Water Resource Protection Plan is one of five major plans that comprise the Hawai‘i Water Plan, which provides overall guidance for managing Hawai‘i’s water resources.
A public review draft of the Water Resource Protection Plan is available online on the CWRM website at http://www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/cwrm/. The public review draft may also be reviewed at the CWRM office at the Kalanimoku Building, at 1151 Punchbowl Street, room 227, in Honolulu or at: All Hawai‘i state public libraries;?University of Hawai‘i at M?noa; Hamilton library University of Hawai‘I; Hilo library; ?Maui Community College library;?Kaua‘i Community College library;?Legislative Reference Bureau; Hawai‘i State Capitol;?State Department of Business, Economic Development and Tourism library;?City and County of Honolulu, Department of Customer Services library.
The Commission will accept written testimony until January 11. Testimony should be mailed to the Commission on Water Resource Management, Department of Land and Natural Resources, P.O. Box 621, Honolulu, Hawai‘i 96809.
Initially prepared in 1990, the Water Resource Protection Plan update reflects the latest efforts in water resource planning as part of the State’s mandate to protect and sustain the water resources for the benefit of the citizens of the State of Hawai‘i.
This current update to the plan includes policies, program directives, resource inventories, and recommendations across a broad spectrum of resource management issues. ?
Contact: ?Deborah Ward ?DLNR Public Information Specialist ?Phone: (808) 587-0320 November 28
The Hawaii Board of Land and Natural Resources on September 26 took the first step to address the future of water resource use of the Kaloko Ditch on Kaua‘i.
The Board voted unanimously to authorize termination of an existing revocable permit with the Kilauea Irrigation Company (KIC). The permit allowed KIC the right to divert surface water from the Pu‘u Ka Ele stream and to direct the water into the Kaloko Ditch system, part of which crosses over state lands. The termination is to become effective at a later date pending DLNR’s ability to obtain all of the necessary permits and approvals to build or remove structures to stop the Pu‘u Ka Ele stream diversion feeding the Kaloko ditch.
The permit grants the holder the right, privilege and authority to develop and access government waters from government land at Papa‘a within the Moloa’a Forest Reserve, together with the right to construct, operate, repair and maintain a water transportation system within the Ka Loko ditch right of way and Pu‘u Ka Ele stream.
Since December 2006, KIC has been in default due to its inability to secure a liability insurance policy that is required under the permit.
“The Department of Land and Natural Resources has made multiple attempts to work directly with Kilauea Irrigation Company to correct this default in the permit condition,” said Laura H. Thielen, DLNR chairperson.
The default continues and has not been cured by KIC, whose principal officer has left the country. Questions remain as to whether the ditch system has been properly maintained.
“We cannot enter into another rainy season with an absentee permittee, who has no insurance, and who is not responding to inquiries regarding the care and maintenance of the diversion and flow of water,” said Thielen.
Thielen noted that DLNR is working with the Chairperson of the Department of Agriculture to set up a meeting with Kilauea-area farmers on Kaua‘i.
The Department of Agriculture will be contacting the farmers; DLNR will bring its Water Commission and Land division staff, and will invite the Kaua‘i County Board of Water Supply to attend as well, Thielen said.
The Department of Agriculture previously recommended the farmers organize a cooperative organization so that they can jointly hold ownership of water rights, assume water management responsibilities, apply for liability insurance, and take advantage of other benefits as a group.
To date, no other entity with the ability to procure insurance has come forward to take over the irrigation system.
To stop diversion of water into the ditch, structures will need to be constructed and/or removed; it will probably take 3-6 months for permits, procurement and construction. For that reason, the current revocable permit, if eventually terminated, would not actually be terminated for quite some time, as that would not occur until immediately prior to commencement of construction.
Contact: ?Deborah Ward ?Phone: (808) 587-0320
The Department of Land and Natural Resources Commission on Water Resource Management this summer has received reports of streams drying up, and unpermitted diversions from streams on Kaua‘i, O‘ahu, Maui, and the Big Island.
These situations may be due, at least in part, to the low rainfall conditions experienced statewide this year.
In general, most of Hawai‘i’s streams are supplied directly from rainfall. With rainfall this year about half of normal, stream flows have been reduced accordingly.
“With a few exceptions, rainfall totals on all islands in the state have been well below normal since the beginning of 2007 (based on year-to-date rainfall from January through July 2007),” said Ken Kawahara, Water Commission deputy director.
“Water is a precious resource, not only for consumptive uses, but to preserve the life of our native aquatic wildlife such as the ‘o‘opu, and ‘opae. Especially during this period of drought conditions we strongly encourage water conservation. Water is a public trust resource and all residents, businesses, private and public agencies must do their part by not wasting water and being conscious of how much water they are using,” Kawahara said.
The Commission is also reminding the public that any stream channel alteration or any new, or expanded diversion of water from a stream requires the proper permits from the Commission.
The State Water Code, Chapter 174C, Hawai‘i Revised Statutes, authorizes the Commission to require permits for stream alterations and diversions to provide for and protect fishery, wildlife, recreational, aesthetic, scenic, and other beneficial instream uses.
The permit process also protects existing users where there are competing interests.
The Commission is also authorized to fine any person who violates any provision of the State Water Code up to $5,000 for each violation. For a continuing offense, each day during which the offense is committed can be considered a separate violation.
In addition, permits or other conditions may be required or imposed by other county, state, or federal agencies.
Anyone with a question regarding stream channel alterations or stream diversions, should contact the Water Commission’s stream protection and management branch at 587-0234, or call toll free from the neighbor islands as follows: ??from Kauai – 274-3141 ext 70234; ?from Maui – 984-2400 ext 70234; ?from Hawaii – 974-4000 ext 70234; and ?from Molokai & Lanai – 1-800-468-4644 ext 70234.
For residential water saving tips visit the website WaterUseItWisely.com.
For further information about water resource management and stream diversion, go to Commission’s web site at: www.hawaii.gov/dlnr/cwrm
Deborah Ward ?DLNR Public Information specialist ?Phone: (808) 587-0320 August 23