Commission Programs

The Commission’s staff is comprised of the Survey, Planning, Ground Water Regulation, and Stream Protection and Management Branches. The responsibilities of each branch are described below.

Survey Branch

Staff downloading rainfall data from a raingauge at Puhakuloa training area, Big Island. The Survey Branch is comprised of the Water Resource Investigation Section and the Water Resource Assessment Section. The Branch’s overall responsibilities include the following:

  • Collect basic hydrologic data and general water resource information.
  • Conduct water availability and sustainable yield analyses for aquifers and watersheds statewide.
  • Conduct topographic surveys, research, and investigations into all aspects of water occurrence and water use.
  • Establish criteria for use by the Commission to determine the existence of water shortages.
  • Identify areas of the State where saltwater intrusion is a threat to fresh-water resources, and report findings
    to the appropriate county mayor and the general public.
  • Provide technical services in support of Commission programs administered by the Planning, Survey,
    Ground-Water Regulation, and Stream Protection and Management Branches.

Planning Branch

Staff conducting drought assessment at the Waimanalo Research Station, Oahu, Hawaii. The Planning Branch’s overall responsibilities include the following:

  • Develop comprehensive, long-range plans for the protection, conservation, and management of the state’s water resources.
  • Prepare, administer, and coordinate the development and updating of the Hawaii Water Plan.
  • Coordinate and direct the development of plans, studies, and scientific investigations involving assessments
    of water supplies and demand, instream uses of water, including biological, ecological, aesthetic, recreational
    and hydrological aspects of Hawaiian stream systems.
  • Formulate drought management plans for implementation during periods of prolonged water shortage.
  • Prepare and administer contracts for consultant services.
  • Recommend acquisition of real property and easements by purchase, gift, lease, eminent domain, or
    otherwise for water resource monitoring, management and resource conservation purposes.
  • Formulate water conservation plans and resource augmentation strategies to address water supply and
    demand, and resource sustainability.
  • Review and analyze statewide data on water consumption by municipal, agricultural, industrial, commercial,
    domestic, and instream uses.
  • Establish and maintain inter-agency coordination between federal, state, and county governments
    and the private sector; and provide planning-related oversight in the processing of permits and the setting
    of instream flow standards to protect beneficial instream uses of water as provided by law.

Ground Water Regulation Branch

Staff measuring water level of deep monitor well at Mahinahina, Maui.The Ground Water Regulation Branch is comprised of the Enforcement Section, the Ground Water Allocation Section, Ground Water Infrastructure Section, and the Ground Water Protection Section. The Branch’s overall responsibilities include the following:

  • Implement Commission policies, procedures, and rules on water development and usage established in conformance with the State Water Code.
  • Establish minimum standards for the construction of wells and the installation of pumps and pumping equipment.
  • Administer the designation of water management areas and the processing of applications for water use permits.
  • Process the filing of objections to applications for water use permits.
  • Administer permit systems for the construction of wells and installations of pumps and pumping equipment.
  • Administer a statewide registration of declared water sources and water uses in connection with the issuance of water use certificates.
  • Administer the investigation and enforcement actions necessary for permit conformance, citizen complaints and in the resolution of water related disputes.

Stream Protection and Management Branch

Staff measuring streamflow in Punaluu Stream, Oahu.The Stream Protection and Management Branch is comprised of the Instream Use Protection Section and the Surface Water Regulation Section. The Branch’s overall responsibilities include the following:

  • Implement Commission policies, procedures, and rules on stream protection and instream flow standards, water development and usage
    established in conformance with the State Water Code.
  • Establish minimum standards for the construction of stream diversion works.
  • Administer the designation of surface-water management areas and the processing of applications for water use permits.
  • Process the filing of objections to applications for surface water use permits.
  • Administer a permit system for the alteration of stream channels.
  • Administer a statewide instream use protection program, including the establishment of flow standards.
  • Administer the investigation and enforcement actions necessary for permit conformance, citizen complaints and in the resolution of water related disputes.