Water Policy Plan



The Hawaiian Homes Commission and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) have four primary water responsibilities:

  1. To plan for fulfilling existing and future water needs;
  2. To advocate for water rights;
  3. To develop water sources; and
  4. To manage water systems


To help fulfill these responsibilities, DHHL has distinct water rights based on the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA), the Hawaiʻi State Constitution (HSC), Hawaiʻi Revised Statutes (HRS), Attorney General’s opinions and court cases. These water rights are tools that the Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) can use as needed. Evaluating which tool/right is best to use depends on the opportunities at hand and the costs (financial and otherwise) of asserting that tool/right. 

The Department has developed three educational handouts which help explain separate aspects of these issues posted on the Department’s website:

  • The “Lehua Handout” has a summary of these HHC and DHHL water kuleana;
  • The “Koa Handout” summarizes the HHC Water Policy Plan (WPP); and
  • The “Kalo Handout” summarizes the record on appeal of the decisions of the Commission on Water Resource Management, and as they are the trustees of water in Hawai`i, their decision making has significant impacts on the rights of the Department and our ability to fulfill the WPP.




I Mana I Ka Wai: Kūkulu Kahuwai

 About the training: Ka Huli Ao Center for Excellence in Native Hawaiian Law and the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands partnered to facilitate I Mana I Ka Wai: Kūkulu Kahuwai. This four-part series focuses on co-powering current and aspiring homestead and beneficiary leaders from across the pae‘āina who are seeking to hone their advocacy, organizing, and leadership skills. In addition, this program aims to equip leaders who will serve as kahuwai (water trustees) and decisionmakers for agencies with the kuleana to steward our wai and address critical water issues specific to Hawaiʻi paeʻāina.


Previous sessions:

June 29, 2023, to July 20, 2023

October 23, 2023, to November 13, 2023


The next training session will occur from March 27, 2024, to April 17, 2024, 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

I Mana I Ka Wai Molokai Water Law Training – Tuesday, July 6, 2021 – 5:30 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.

About the training: The UH Ka Huli Ao Program will provide a brief overview of Hawaiʻi’s legal framework governing water resources, Delwyn Oki will update the community on USGS’ recent study, and DHHL will share about its water policy. We will also discuss specific ways homestead communities can advocate for the pono use and protection of wai on Molokaʻi.

If you want to learn more about the water rights and kuleana of DHHL beneficiaries — especially given DHHL’s Water Use Permit Application for the Kualapuʻu Aquifer that is pending before the Water Commission — please join us!

HHL Moloka`i Proposed Groundwater Reservation Virtual Beneficiary Consultation Meeting – May 5, 2021

About the meeting: DHHL intends to request water reservations of groundwater from the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) for future development and utilization of DHHL lands on Moloka`i.



I Mana I Ka Wai DHHL Water Law and Advocacy Virtual Training Meetings – January 21 & 22, 2021


The final Water Policy Plan 2014 as approved by the Hawaiian Homes Commission:

Water Policy postcard


201402303 Water Policy Plan Draft BC web

DHHL Draft Water Policy Plan Beneficiary Consultation

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands developed a draft Water Policy Plan and is seeking your mana‘o and feedback. The draft document is available for review and comment at dhhl.hawaii.gov/po/water.

We are conducting a series of statewide Beneficiary Consultation Meetings on the draft plan on the following dates and locations. All meetings are from 6:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.

Please visit dhhl.hawaii.gov/po/water for more information or call the DHHL Planning Office at (808) 620-9517.

DHHL Water Policy Plan Draft


Our vision is that there will be adequate amounts of water and supporting infrastructure so that homestead lands will always be usable and accessible, to enable us to return to our lands to fully support our self-sufficiency and self-determination in the administration of the Hawaiian Homes Commission Act (HHCA), and the preservation of our values, traditions, and culture.


In a manner consistent with our values, the Hawaiian Homes Commission (HHC) and Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) shall strive to ensure the availability of adequate, quality water by working cooperatively to:

  • Understand our trust water assets;
  • Plan for our water needs;
  • Aggressively understand, exercise and assert our water rights;
  • Develop and protect water sources; and
  • Manage water systems.

Submit DHHL Water Policy Plan Comments

  • Review period for Draft Plan begins Feb. 19, 2014
  • Deadline for comments is May 16, 2014
  • Email comments to [email protected]
  • Mail comments to:
    • DHHL Planning Office
      P.O. Box 1879
      Honolulu, Hawaii 96805
  • Phone: DHHL Planning Office (808) 620-9480

Water Policy Postcard

Come help protect and direct the future of DHHL and our water! We are beginning community meetings to provide information and to get your mana‘o to develop a Water Policy Plan that will guide us as we manage and invest in the water resources and rights of the Trust.

  • What rights can be asserted by DHHL?
  • How should we balance development and protection of water?
  • What are the most critical water issues in your community?

Meetings will be held beginning Oct. 23. All meetings are from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.:

  • Oct. 23    O‘ahu    Stevenson Middle School Cafeteria
  • Oct. 30    Kaua‘i    Chiefess Kamakahelei Middle Sch. Cafeteria
  • Nov. 4    Moloka‘i    Lanikeha Community Center
  • Nov. 5    O‘ahu    Kapolei Middle School Cafeteria
  • Nov. 6    O‘ahu    Blanche Pope Elementary Cafeteria
  • Nov. 7    Lāna‘i    Lāna‘i Elementary & High Cafeteria
  • Nov. 12    Hawai‘i    DHHL Kūhiō Hale – Waimea
  • Nov. 13    Hawai‘i    Hilo High School Cafeteria
  • Nov. 14    Maui    DHHL Paukūkalo Community Center

DHHL Water Policy Plan Workshops Presentation Materials

DHHL Water Policy Plan Workshops Conversation Maps

Moloka'i Converstation Map

Moloka’i OIKW Converstation Map.

  • EMIKW = E Malama I Ka Wai
  • OIKW = Ola I Ka Wai
  • HKKK = He Kuleana Ko Kakou

Meeting Notes, Broad Sheets and Letters

For more information, please visit dhhl.hawaii.gov/po/water or call (808) 620-9517.