HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.B. NO.

2598

TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2016

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to drought mitigation.

 

 

BE IT ENACTED BY THE LEGISLATURE OF THE STATE OF HAWAII:

 


     SECTION 1.  Drought ranks second in terms of national weather-related economic impacts, with annual losses nearing $9,000,000,000 per year in the U.S.  Beyond direct economic impacts, drought can threaten drinking water supplies and ecosystems, and can contribute to increased food prices.

     Drought has been a chronic problem in Hawaii affecting every part of the State.  It has reduced crop yields; diminished livestock herds; desiccated streams, irrigation ditches, and reservoirs; and depleted groundwater supplies.  As the potential for future droughts, short and long, is almost a certainty, the State must prepare for more frequent and severe drought conditions.

     Current responses to drought tend to focus on short-term measures, such as temporary water conservation and efficiency improvements, water transfers, and increased use of groundwater. However, with increased drought risk, the State must incorporate longer-term efforts that increase resilience to more frequent or severe drought conditions.

     The legislature finds that the State must develop and maintain a dependable water supply to sustain agriculture and move closer toward food security and sustainability.  The State must increase water storage with new reservoirs, renovate existing water systems to increase source intake, and reduce distribution losses.

     The legislature believes that to address the harmful impact of droughts, mitigation measures laid out in the Hawaii drought plan must be implemented.  The goal of the Hawaii drought plan is to develop coordinated emergency response mechanisms while at the same time outlining steps toward mitigating the effects of future drought occurrences.  The Hawaii drought plan provides clear policies and specifies response entities to implement immediate short-term and long-term response measures to mitigate the impact of droughts.

     The legislature also finds that in 2004, county drought committees were formed for each of the four counties in Hawaii.  Each county drought committee developed a drought mitigation strategy for its respective county, with a focus on drought mitigation projects.  These county drought mitigation strategies represent the local needs and concerns of each county and are incorporated by reference into the Hawaii drought plan.

     The legislature further finds that to implement the Hawaii drought plan adequately, sufficient funding to the counties is necessary to address the many challenges that our agriculture industry faces in preparing for droughts.

     The purpose of this Act is to provide funding to implement drought mitigation measures across the State and to amend section 179D-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to allow waivers or fee reductions for critical dams and reservoirs.

     SECTION 2.  Section 179D-6, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (b) to read as follows:

     "(b)  The board shall administer the dam and reservoir safety program established by this chapter.  In carrying out this chapter, the board shall cooperate, advise, consult, contract, and enter into cooperative agreements with the United States government or any of its agencies, other state agencies, and the county governments or any of their agencies.  In the performance of its duties, the board shall:

     (1)  Establish by rules adopted under chapter 91, policies, requirements, or standards governing the design, construction, operation, maintenance, enlargement, alteration, repair, removal, and inspection of dams, reservoirs, and appurtenant works for the protection of life and property from structural failure of dams and reservoirs;

     (2)  Conduct investigations and collect data, including technological advances made in dam and reservoir safety practices elsewhere, as may be needed for the proper review and study of the various features of the design, construction, repair, removal, inspection, operation, maintenance, alteration, and enlargement of dams, reservoirs, and appurtenant works.  The board may require submittal of reports of investigations from all owners;

     (3)  Conduct investigations and require reports from all owners to be made from time to time, including watershed investigations and studies, as may be necessary to keep abreast of developments affecting stream runoff and as required to facilitate its decisions;

     (4)  Be authorized to enter upon such private property of the dam or reservoir as may be necessary in making, at the owner's expense, any investigation or inspection required or authorized by this chapter.  The entry shall not constitute a cause of action in favor of the owner of the land, except for damages resulting from wilful acts or negligence by the board or its agents;

     (5)  Require the owners to apply for, and obtain from the board written approval of plans and specifications on the construction of any new dam or reservoir or the enlargement of any dam or reservoir prior to commencement of any work;

     (6)  Require the owners to file an application and secure the written approval of the board before commencing the repair, alteration, or removal of a dam or reservoir, including the alteration or removal of a dam or reservoir so that it no longer constitutes a dam or reservoir as defined in this chapter.  Repairs shall not be deemed to apply to routine maintenance not affecting the safety of the structure;

     (7)  Require owners to secure the written approval of the board to impound water;

     (8)  Require fees to cover a portion of the board's costs in carrying out the administration of dam and reservoir safety; provided that the board may reduce or waive fees for dams or reservoirs in critical need;

     (9)  Cooperate with all public and private agencies created for the purpose of enhancing dam and reservoir safety activities and training, assist these organizations and agencies in coordinating the use of their facilities, and participate in the exchange of ideas, knowledge, and data with these organizations and agencies;

    (10)  Consider dams and reservoirs as important water resources for the State that provide significant benefits to the general public, including irrigation for agriculture and other important uses, and acknowledge the need for dams and reservoirs to be consistently maintained and operated in a safe and feasible manner that sustains their roles as important water resources; provided that public safety concerns are addressed;

    (11)  Prepare, publish, and issue printed pamphlets, bulletins, or advisories, or conduct training as the board deems necessary for the dissemination of information to the public;

    (12)  Appoint and remove agents and employees, including hearing officers, specialists, and consultants, as necessary to carry out the purposes of this chapter, who may be engaged by the board without regard to the requirements of chapter 76;

    (13)  Catalog and maintain an inventory of all regulated dams and reservoirs in the State pursuant to this chapter without regard to chapter 91;

    (14)  Establish similar or consistent hazard potential classifications in conjunction with other applicable state or federal guidelines for all regulated dams and reservoirs in the State pursuant to this chapter without regard to chapter 91;

    (15)  Examine and approve or disapprove applications for approval of the construction, enlargement, repair, alteration, or removal of a dam or reservoir and applications for certificates of approval to impound;

    (16)  Order the suspension, revocation, or both, of any application approval or certificate of approval to impound for any act or failure to comply with this chapter or with any rules or orders adopted pursuant to this chapter, or with any of the conditions contained in or attached to the application approval or certificate of approval to impound;

    (17)  Issue orders requiring the adoption by an owner of remedial measures necessary for the safety of life or public or private property, or for carrying out this chapter or rules issued under this chapter;

    (18)  Order the immediate cessation of any act that is started or continued without an application approval or certificate of approval to impound as required by this chapter;

    (19)  Enter private property and immediately take actions necessary to provide protection to life or property at the owner's expense, including removal of the dam or reservoir.  The entry shall not constitute a cause of action in favor of the owner of the land, except for damages resulting from wilful acts or gross negligence by the board or its agents;

    (20)  Recover from the owner, in the name of the State, the expenses incurred in taking any action required by the owner of the dam or reservoir in the same manner that debts are recoverable by law;

    (21)  Assess civil penalties for violation of this chapter or any rule or standard adopted or order issued by the board pursuant to this chapter;

    (22)  Place liens, as needed, on the owner's property, to be collected as delinquent taxes against the lands and property, if the owner neglects to pay any costs, expenses, or penalties chargeable to the owner under this chapter or any rule, order, or condition adopted, issued, or required under this chapter;

    (23)  With the assistance of the attorney general, institute and prosecute all court actions that may be necessary to obtain the enforcement of any order issued by the board in carrying out this chapter; and

    (24)  Take any and all other actions as may be necessary to carry out this chapter."

     SECTION 3.  There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $         or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2016-2017 for providing incentives to enhance water storage capacity using existing dams and reservoirs for drought mitigation.

     SECTION 4.  There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $         for fiscal year 2016-2017 for deposit into the dam and reservoir safety special fund established by section 179D-25, Hawaii Revised Statutes.

SECTION 5.  There is appropriated out of the dam and reservoir safety special fund the sum of $         or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2016-2017 to offset potential losses resulting from the reduction and waiver of fees authorized by this Act.

     SECTION 6.  There is appropriated out of the general revenues of the State of Hawaii the sum of $         or so much thereof as may be necessary for fiscal year 2016-2017 for drought mitigation projects and measures identified by the drought committees in each county of the State.

     SECTION 7.  The sums appropriated shall be expended by the department of land and natural resources for the purposes of this Act.

     SECTION 8.  This Act shall take effect on July 1, 2051.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

_____________________________

 

 


 


 

Report Title:

Dams and Reservoirs; Department of Land and Natural Resources Appropriations

 

Description:

Allows for a reduction or waiver of fees for critical dams and reservoirs and provides funding to implement drought mitigation measures across the State.

 

 

 

The summary description of legislation appearing on this page is for informational purposes only and is not legislation or evidence of legislative intent.