State Proposes Water Limits on Molokai

Plan to include sustainable yields for all of the island’s water resources.

Roy Hardy, representative from the state Water Commission on Water Resource Management, presented a plan on July 10 that proposes to set caps on how much water can be taken out of groundwater resources on Molokai.

By Zalina Alvi 

By the end of August, the state may be regulating how much water can be taken out of the island of Molokai and the rest of Hawaii.

A representative of the state Commission on Water Resource Management presented a revised draft of the Water Resource Protection Plan (WRPP) at a meeting of Molokai’s Water Advisory Committee on July 10. The proposed plan analyzes data on current and future water demands in order to put caps on how much water can be taken out without jeopardizing our resources.

The WRPP is one of five parts of the larger Hawaii Water Plan. Maui County, like other counties, will have its own water use and development plans which will include information on Molokai.

The WRPP’s major role is to determine the water limits for the individual county plans when they are finalized and ready to be implemented.

Sustainable Yields
The limits are calculated as sustainable yields for the island as divided up into 16 sections of groundwater resources. Areas such as Kaluakoi and Hoolehua, have the lowest sustainable yield with two million gallons per day, while Wailau has the most with 15 million gallons per day. Seven out of the nine areas on neighboring Lanai have a sustainable yield of zero gallons per day. There is also a section on surface water resources that will be monitored and regulated.

Data Confusion
The WRPP, which has been in the works since 1990, has undergone several revisions based on public comments since it was first developed.

Even so, the general response at the committee’s meeting was one of hesitancy and distrust of data acquired by the commission. One of the major issues questioned functionality and number of gauges used for collecting data from streams on Molokai.

Roy Hardy, regulation branch chief for the commission, assured the meeting’s attendees that the data was sound, but admitted that there have been budget cuts in terms of data collection, which would account for the possible disrepair or absence of gages in local streams.

Share Your Mana’o
The WRPP will have to be approved by the commission on Oahu at the end of August, most likely on or around Aug. 20. The public can send comments in formal letters to the commission by fax at 587-0219 or email at

The full plan be found online at or viewed in person at the commission office at the Kalanimoku Building, Room 227, 1151 Punchbowl Street in Honolulu.

Other Plans in the Works
The Water Advisory Council is also working with the county on putting together a section on Molokai for a Maui Water Use and Development Plan (WUDP) that will fall under the WRPP. Anyone wishing to contribute should attend a meeting. Meetings usually take place on the second Thursday of the month. Comments on the WUDP can be sent to Ellen Kraftsow with the Department of Water Supply at


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