Paper No. 46-5
Presentation Time: 10:25 AM
ESTABLISHMENT AND MAINTENANCE OF INSTREAM FLOW STANDARDS FOR THE STATE OF HAWAI‘I
Water is managed as a public trust resource in the State of Hawai‘i to protect current and future needs. Surface water in its natural state provides for multiple uses including aesthetic and recreational value, ecosystem services, habitat for freshwater fauna, navigation, instream hydropower, water quality, maintenance of riparian vegetation, and cultural uses. Water is also a valuable resource for off stream use including supplying municipal and domestic water, irrigation for agriculture, and industrial use. Measurable instream flow standards (IFS) established by the Commission on Water Resource Management is the primary mechanism for protecting surface water resources in Hawai‘i. To date, IFS have been established for particular streams on Oahu and Maui following the submission of formal petitions, comprehensive technical assessments of water use and expensive legal proceedings. As surface water diminishes due to climate change, land cover change, and groundwater pumping, proactively establishing IFS values for streams will protect instream uses without protracted litigation efforts.