THE SENATE

S.B. NO.

1065

THIRTY-SECOND LEGISLATURE, 2023

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

 

A BILL FOR AN ACT

 

 

relating to water.

 

 

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

 


SECTION 1. The legislature finds that in 2019, West Maui suffered from an active fire season in which wildfires scorched twenty-five thousand acres of land. The legislature further finds that there are a number of key reservoirs that are currently not filled with water. Examples of those reservoirs include Mahinahina, Kahoma, Makila, Olowalu, and Ukumehame reservoirs. If key reservoirs have an adequate amount of stored water, the fresh reservoir water can be used to enhance fire safety.

The purpose of this Act is to:

(1) Specify in the state water code that fire safety use is a beneficial use of water; and

(2) Require the department of land and natural resources, in consultation with the Hawaii emergency management agency, to cooperate with the counties and reservoir owners to develop protocols and agreements for the use of reservoir waters for fire safety purposes.

SECTION 2. Section 174C-2, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended by amending subsection (c) to read as follows:

"(c) The state water code shall be liberally interpreted to obtain maximum beneficial use of the waters of the State for purposes such as domestic uses[,]; aquaculture uses[,]; irrigation and other agricultural uses[,]; power development[, and]; commercial and industrial uses[.]; and to benefit the public's health, safety, and welfare by maintaining available fresh water for fire safety purposes. However, adequate provision shall be made for the protection of traditional and customary Hawaiian rights, the protection and procreation of fish and wildlife, the maintenance of proper ecological balance and scenic beauty, and the preservation and enhancement of waters of the State for municipal uses, public recreation, public water supply, agriculture, and navigation. [Such] These objectives are declared to be in the public interest."

SECTION 3. Section 185-1.5, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is amended to read as follows:

"[[]185-1.5[]] Responsible agency. (a) The department shall take measures for the prevention, control, and extinguishment of wildland fires within forest reserves, public hunting areas, wildlife and plant sanctuaries, and natural area reserves [and].

(b) The department shall cooperate with established fire control agencies of the counties and the federal government in developing plans and programs and mutual aid agreements for assistance for the prevention, control, and extinguishment of fires on forest, grass, brush, and watershed lands not within the department's fire protection responsibilities described [above.] in this section.

(c) The department, in consultation with the Hawaii emergency management agency, shall cooperate with the counties and reservoir owners to develop protocols and agreements for the use of reservoir waters for fire safety purposes. The protocols and agreements shall address the emergency use of reservoir waters for prevention, control, and extinguishment of fires while taking into account the various competing uses of reservoir waters."

SECTION 4. Statutory material to be repealed is bracketed and stricken. New statutory material is underscored.

SECTION 5. This Act shall take effect upon its approval.

 

INTRODUCED BY:

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Report Title:

Department of Land and Natural Resources; State Water Code; Reservoirs; Fire Safety

 

Description:

Specifies, in the State Water Code, that fire safety use is a beneficial use of fresh water. Requires the Department of Land and Natural Resources, in consultation with the Hawaii Emergency Management Agency, to cooperate with the counties and reservoir owners to develop protocols and agreements for the use of reservoir waters for fire safety purposes.

 

 

 

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