Agricultural Water Use and Development Plan

The entrance to the Molokai Water Tunnel. The Molokai Irrigation System is operated and managed by the State Department of Agriculture. Water is collected and pumped from Waikolu Valley, then transported through the tunnel to the Kualapuu Reservoir in Central Molokai.The Department of Agriculture (DOA) is responsible for the preparation of the Agricultural Water Use and Development Plan (AWUDP). With the closure of large sugarcane plantations in the 1990’s, the State Legislature enacted Act 101, Session Laws of Hawaii 1998, mandating an Agricultural Water Use and Development Plan.

The major objective of the AWUDP is to develop a long-range management plan that assesses state and private agricultural water use, supply and irrigation water systems. The plan is intended to be a master irrigation inventory plan which identifies system rehabilitation needs and prioritizes system repair. In addition, the Commission’s Statewide Framework for Updating the Hawaii Water Plan includes the following recommendations for the AWUDP:

CWRM Staff take water flow readings from the Lower Hamakua Ditch on the Island of Hawaii. The ditch captures water from the wet, northern side of the island and transports the water to various agricultural users along the eastern Hamakua coastline.

  • Based on existing statewide agricultural land uses, assess the existing agricultural water irrigation needs of each of the counties.
  • Based on long-term agricultural crop development plans, develop a range of future agricultural irrigation water needs for each of the counties, including projected agricultural water demands of the DHHL.
  • Based on the information from the WRPP and the “master irrigation inventory plan,” identify existing sources for irrigation water and assess any shortfalls or excess capacities in existing irrigation systems.
  • Identify options for development of additional and alternative irrigation water sources.
  • Identify options for conserving irrigation water and/or managing the uses to reduce the total irrigation water demand.
  • Develop strategies encompassing both demand management and resource development options.

Agricultural lands are extensive and can require significant quantities of water to maintain productivity. The AWUDP is intended to promote the agricultural self-sufficiency of the State and protect this important State resource.