Tammy Duchesne, Superintendent
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE September 13, 2013 808‐329‐6881 x1201
NATIONAL PARK SERVICE REQUESTS GROUNDWATER MANAGEMENT AREA DESIGNATION
Today the National Park Service filed a petition with the State of Hawai`i Commission on Water
Resource Management (Water Commission) asking them to designate the Keauhou Aquifer of North
Kona as a Water Management Area for groundwater. The National Park Service acted in order to seek
the state’s assistance in the careful management of culturally and environmentally significant water
resources in and around Kaloko‐Honokōhau National Historical Park.
Water management areas are management units where the state Water Commission has established
administrative control over the withdrawal of groundwater. Water management areas ensure the
reasonable‐beneficial use of the water resources in a manner consistent with the public interest.
Currently in the Keauhou Aquifer the impacts of water withdrawal on the surrounding environment and
public trust uses of water are not explicitly considered in the permitting of new wells. In designated
water management areas, entities wishing to withdraw groundwater must show that their proposed
uses are reasonable, beneficial, and are consistent with the public interest.
Groundwater availability is critical to support the purposes, values and resources for which the
Park was established, as well as coastal ecosystems, fisheries, tourism, and recreation
throughout the area. The anchialine pools, fishponds, tide pools, and the near shore
environment are home to species such as limu (seaweed), `ama`ama (mullet), and `opae `ula
(shrimp) prized by Native Hawaiians. The Park also provides habitat for endangered waterbirds
such as the Hawaiian coot and stilt and candidate species such as two anchialine pool shrimp
species and the orange‐black Hawaiian damselfly . The continued health and existence of these
biological resources depend on the continued flow of clean, abundant groundwater from
mauka (upland) areas within the aquifer system.
Since the Park’s establishment, substantial groundwater development has occurred within the Keauhou
Aquifer. Despite six years of efforts by the Water Commission, the Park, and other stakeholders to
address the potential impacts of proposed development at the Kona Water Roundtable and other
venues, no plan has been produced to protect water‐dependent cultural and natural resources from the
cumulative effects of groundwater withdrawals. Given the sensitivity and importance of these
resources and importance of water to all stakeholders, including the community living in this area, proactive
management of groundwater withdrawals is urgently needed
EXPERIENCE YOUR AMERICA
The National Park Service cares for special places saved by the American people so that all may experience our heritage.
“Ola i ka wai‐ water is life and the spirit of Kaloko‐ Honokōhau National Historical Park. We filed this
petition because of our deep commitment to preserve and protect nationally significant resources and
public trust uses that depend on fresh water,” said Park Superintendent Tammy Duchesne. “We request
the Water Commission begin the process of designating the Keauhou Aquifer as a Water Management
Area for groundwater for this and future generations.”
The Water Commission will have the opportunity to review the petition and investigate the information.
Based on the review, they will determine whether to hold a public hearing in the area to take testimony
from all interested parties on the idea of designation.
Kaloko‐ Honokōhau National Historical Park was established in 1978 to preserve, interpret, and
perpetuate traditional Native Hawaiian activities, values and culture and to demonstrate historic land
use patterns. For more information about the park, please visit https://www.nps.gov/kaho or call (808)