Water is essential to life.
In the Hawaiian Islands, life giving rains are our main source of water. From these rains, Hawaiʻi’s streams and groundwater aquifers are fed. These waters must be shared among many uses—drinking water, subsistence farming, cultural practices, natural ecosystems, food production, and more. Hawaiʻi’s streams and aquifers hold enough water for all of these uses, as long as equitable access to water resources are preserved.
In Hawaiʻi, water is a public trust resource, protected by the constitution for the benefit of Hawaiʻi's people. The public trust doctrine prioritizes customary, traditional practices and the health of native streams and coastal life over private commercial uses.
Water resources are under threat from climate change, corporate water theft, and mismanagement of public lands. We must do everything that we can to protect what resources we have now to ensure access to clean, quality water for sustenance, drinking, traditional practices and gathering, and thriving native ecosystems.
There are roughly 370 streams throughout the main Hawaiian Islands, whose waters must be shared to benefit ecosystems and those that rely on them. In an isolated island chain, where freshwater resources are finite, it is vital that access to clean freshwater is maintained for all and that no water is wasted. Click below to learn more about water in Hawaiʻi and its true, indispensable value.
For decades, throughout the islands, sugar plantations—now turned landowners and development corporations—have unjustly diverted public water from streams for their private profit. Communities dependent on these once flourishing streams, are banning together to fight for the return of their waters and to protect future generations from water theft. Click below to learn how to take action today against this natural resource exploitation and to learn more about these long fought battles.