LIHUE — Stream diversions are the topic for a meeting tonight at the Kauai Community College Performing Arts Center as the Commission on Water Resource Management meets with the public in a Wailua watershed fact gathering mission.
Testimony and information received at the meeting and through July 13 will be compiled as part of an Instream Flow Standard Assessment Report.
The report is the primary reference of best available information for subsequent amendments to the interim instream flow standards for the surface water hydrologic unit of Wailua — Waikoko and North Fork Wailua streams on Kauai.
“This is the public’s opportunity to be heard and assure that adequate in-stream flow standards are set to preserve, not only the stream health, but also the aesthetic, cultural and customary practices of the Wailua watershed,” said Bridget Hammerquist, with the Aha Moku and Kia’i Wai’ o Wai’ale’ale.
She continued: “Your participation June 21 is critical if the state is to compile an accurate assessment.”
Information and testimony targeted at the headwaters of Wai‘ale‘ale, the Waikoko and NF Wailua specifically will help to form accurate in-stream flow standards to comply with the state’s mandate to protect, control and regulate the use of Hawaii’s water resources.
The state-adopted water code of 1978, requires all landowners to inform the Board of Land and Natural Resources and CWRM of any stream alterations or diversions on their land and that’s the trigger for setting in-stream flow standards for all Hawaii streams.
“ Because the task of measuring was overwhelming, CWRM and BLNR adopted a status quo measurment for all streams,” Hammerquist said. “By that, the state informed owners that they could maintain but not change existing stream alterations or diversions without permit from CWRM.”
While establishing in-stream flow standards on Kauai, CWRM is also assessing cultural and customary practices, as is required by law.
A public review draft of each of the Instream Flow Standard Assessment reports for Wailua available online at bit.ly/2IbVV68
Tonight’s meeting is scheduled for the KCC Performing Arts Center Theater from 6 -8 p.m.
Jessica Else, environment reporter, can be reached at 245-0452 or at firstname.lastname@example.org