KEALAKEHE, HAWAII – The state Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) is meeting at the West Hawaii Civic Center council chambers in Kona today. On the agenda is another round of discussion on the Keauhou Aquifer System Area, which The National Park Service is petitioning to have designated as a Ground Water Management Area. NPS wants to protect public trust resources and uses of water by maintaining the current flow of fresh groundwater through its Kaloko-Honokōhau National Historical Park.
Hawaii County has opposed the designation and right now all parties involved are working on providing the commission with requested information by different deadlines, established by a preliminary order following the December 29, 2014 meeting in Kona.
According to documents submitted to the commission, the National Park Service clarified their proposed settlement concepts (read below) to county officials during a March 31 meeting. “Although no formal agreement was reached,” a joint summary read, “parties were engaged in healthy dialogue about continuing collaborative clean up days and the possible development of a monitoring plan. In addition, all agreed to put together a joint summary report by the May 4, 2015 deadline, hence this letter.” The joint summary also reported Hawaii County cabinet members and their families met at Kaloko-Honokōhau to help park employees clear an area of invasive plant species.
According to the proposed settlement concepts, the National Park Service may seek to petition the state to manage an area no more than half as large as the Keauhou Aquifer System Area, which NPS concedes is “larger than the geographic area that contributes fresh water to the park”. However, first “clarification is needed from CWRM to confirm that a smaller geographic area within the aquifer system can be designated a water management area.” The proposal – if acceptable to the commission – would takes designation of the entire Keauhou Aquifer System Area “off the table” in favor of a smaller designation.
LINK: Joint Letter Report from County and NPS dated April 30, 2015 (state pdf)
County officials will also be updating the commission on the status of an update to its Water Use and Development Plan.
LINK: Water Use & Development Plan Update – Keauhou Aquifer System (county pdf)
Also on the agenda: Bob Whittier with the State Department of Health’s Safe Drinking Water Branch will present the “Keauhou Isotope Chemistry with Numerical Modeling on Mauna Loa”.