The State Water Code calls for coordination between the Commission, the counties, and other state agencies to “formulate an integrated and coordinated program for the protection, conservation, and management of waters in each county …” To effectively implement these requirements, a Statewide Framework for Updating the Hawaii Water Plan, incorporating the techniques of Integrated Resources Planning, was established to address current complexities associated with planning, regulation, and management of our water resources. This planning framework is intended to guide the integration and updating of all the components of the Hawaii Water Plan (HWP).
The objectives of developing and outlining a statewide framework for the Hawaii Water Plan are:
- To achieve integration of land use and water planning efforts that are undertaken by federal, state, county, and private entities so that a consistent and coordinated plan for the protection, conservation and management of our water resources is achieved;
- To recommend guidelines for the HWP update so that the plan and its component parts are useful to the Commission, other state agencies, the counties, and the general public;
- To develop a dynamic planning process that results in a “living document” for each component of the HWP which will provide county and state decision-makers with well formulated options and strategies for addressing future water resource management and development issues;
- To better define roles and responsibilities of all state and county agencies with respect to the development and updating of the HWP components;
- To describe and outline the techniques and methodologies of integrated resource planning as the basic approach that should be utilized in developing and updating the County WUDPs;
- To facilitate permitting and to identify potential critical resource areas where increased monitoring or baseline data gathering should proceed.
- To establish an overall schedule for phased updating of the HWP; and
- To outline an Implementation Plan for near-term and long-term actions.
The Framework recommends integration at the county level and advocates the use of an integrated resource planning (IRP) approach. IRP can best be described as a comprehensive form of planning that encompasses least-cost analyses of resource management options, as well as a participatory decision-making process. It involves the development of water resource alternatives that take into consideration communities and environments that may be affected, the numerous institutions concerned with water resource development and protection, and the potential for competing policy goals.
IRP attempts to consider all direct and indirect costs and benefits of demand-side and supply-side management, and augmentation of supply. This is achieved by using alternative planning scenarios, analyses across disciplines, evaluation of social and environmental impacts, and community involvement in the planning, decision-making, and implementation processes.
The Commission envisions that implementation of the framework will facilitate achievement of public, stakeholder, and agency goals, values, and objectives to protect and manage our most precious resource.