Laws & Regulations

In 1978, the State of Hawaii’s Constitutional Convention identified the the State’s “obligation to protect, control and regulate the use of Hawaii’s water resources for the benefit of its people.” Under Article XI, Section 7, of the State Constitution, “The legislature shall provide for a water resources agency which, as provided by law, shall set overall water conservation, quality and use policies; define beneficial and reasonable uses; protect ground and surface water resources, watersheds and natural stream environments; establish criteria for water use priorities while assuring appurtenant rights and existing correlative and riparian uses and establish procedures for regulating all uses of Hawaii’s water resources.”

View of Waikiki and Honolulu. View of Waikiki and Honolulu. Hawaii’s growing population has resulted in greater competition for water resources between municipal, military, agricultural, private, environmental, and traditional water demands.

Thus, the idea for the State of Hawaii’s Commission on Water Resource Management emerged. However, the Commission was not established until 1987 when the Hawaii State Legislature enacted the State Water Code, Chapter 174C of the Hawaii Revised Statutes. Under the Code, Chapters 13-167 to 13-171 of the Hawaii Administrative Rules rules specify and clarify definitions, procedures, requirements, etc., required by, but not specified by law. The Commission establishes and operates under these rules through periodic updating and public participation based on the experience of implementing the Water Code. The Hawaii Well Construction and Pump Installation Standards, in accordance with §174C-86, HRS and §13-168-14, HAR, provide additional guidance for the construction, installation, alteration, and abandonment of wells and pumps statewide.

Diversified agriculture on Oahu. Diversified agriculture on Oahu. Once the site of vast sugarcane fields, the decline of the sugar industry has opened the door to diversified agriculture. Water remains a valuable commodity on the Ewa plains.

State Water Code

The State Water Code, Chapter 174C, Hawaii Revised Statutes (HRS) was enacted into law by the 1987 Hawaii State Legislature for the purpose of protecting Hawaii’s water resources. It provides for the legal basis and establishment of the Commission on Water Resource Management and its authorities and responsibilities. Click on the link below to view the State Water Code in Acrobat Reader.

Accordingly, two years from the effective date of the State Water Code, conflicting chapters within the Hawaii Revised Statutes were repealed. These chapters are referenced below.

Chapter
Subject
Chapter 176, HRS
REPEALED – Water Resources
Chapter 176D, HRS
REPEALED – Protection of Instream Uses of Water
Chapter 177, HRS
REPEALED – Ground Water Use
Chapter 178, HRS
REPEALED – Well, Generally

Hawaii Administrative Rules

Administrative rules specify and clarify definitions, procedures, requirements, etc., required by, but not specified, in the law (174C). The Commission establishes and operates under these rules through periodic updating and public participation based on the experience of implementing the Water Code.In July 1987, the Hawaii State Legislature passed the State Water Code, Chapter 174C Hawaii Revised Statutes, for the purpose of protecting Hawaii’s water resources. In conjunction, with the adoption of the State Water Code, the Commission also needed to enact new administrative rules within a two-year time period. Listed below are the repealed, current, and draft (proposed) Hawaii Administrative Rules.

Chapter
Subject
Repealed
13-166
REPEALED – Control of Ground Water Use in the State of Hawaii
05/27/1988
13-167
REPEALED – Protection of Instream Uses of Water, Windward Oahu
05/27/1988

 

Chapter
Subject (UNOFFICIAL COMPILATIONS)
Amended
13-167 Rules of Practice and Procedure for the Commission on Water Resource Management
07/30/2018
13-168
Water Use, Wells, and Stream Diversion Works
07/30/2018
13-169 Protection of Instream Uses of Water 07/30/2018
13-170 Hawaii Water Plan 05/16/1988
13-171 Designation and Regulation of Water Management Areas 05/31/1995

 

Draft Administrative Rules

Administrative Rules are regulations established by the Commission through an extensive public review and hearing process. The procedure for administrative rules is set by Hawaii Revised Statutes Chapter 91. A proposed rule (or amendment) is drafted by the Commission staff, approved by the Commission on Water Resource Management for public meetings/hearings, and reviewed by the Department of the Attorney General (AG). Then the draft is taken out to public meetings and/or hearings, where the public can give formal testimony on the draft rule. The rule is revised, if necessary, and then submitted to the Commission for final approval. Then it is reviewed again by the AG, and after signing by the Governor and filing with the Lieutenant Governor, it has the effect of law.

Date
Subject
Sep. 15, 2017

Notice of Public Hearing:
Public Hearings on proposed amendments to Title 13, Section 13-167-10(b), Section 13-168-3(a), Section 13-169-3(a), Section 13-168-12(a). Please see notice for more details.

  • Oct. 30, 2017, 6:00 p.m., Wailuku, Maui
    Velma McWayne Santos Community Center
  • Nov. 6, 2017, 6:00 p.m., Honolulu, Oahu
    Kalanimoku Building, Board Room 132
  • Nov. 8, 2017, 6:00 p.m., Kailua-Kona, Hawaii
    West Hawaii Civic Cener, Bldg. A, Conf. Room A
  • Nov. 9, 2017, 6:00 p.m., Hilo, Hawaii
    Aupuni Center
  • Nov. 17, 2017, 6:00 p.m., Lihue, Kauai
    Lihue Civic Center, Rooms 2A & 2B
Section
Section Title
13-167-10 Penalties: This amendment proposes to raise fines imposed by the Commission from $1,000 to $5,000 per violation, consistent with the State Water Code. (See Notice of Public Hearing.)
13-168-3
Penalties: This amendment proposes to raise fines imposed by the Commission from $1,000 to $5,000 per violation, consistent with the State Water Code. (See Notice of Public Hearing.)
13-168-12
Well construction and pump installation permits: This amendment proposes to raise the application (non-refundable filing) fee for a well construction or pump installation permit to $300. (See Notice of Public Hearing.)
13-169-3
Penalties: This amendment proposes to raise fines imposed by the Commission from $1,000 to $5,000 per violation, consistent with the State Water Code. (See Notice of Public Hearing.)