Geothermal Water Use in Hawaii
At a Glance
|Water Right Agency:||Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Commission on Water Resource Management|
|Water Right Classification||Permit System - Water is a public trust|||
|Geothermal Right Classification:||(Mineral) In Hawai'i geothermal resources are included within the definition of mineral (HRS 523A-2). Hawai'i state law also excludes from the definition of a geothermal resource any fluids having a temperature less than 150 degrees Fahrenheit and not being used for electrical generation (HRS 182-1). Hawai'i also claims ownership of geothermal resources on all state and reserved lands. "Reserved lands" are those owned or leased by any person in which the state has reserved to itself, expressly or by implication, the minerals or the right to mine minerals, or both. "State lands" includes all public and other lands owned by or in the possession, use and control of the State of Hawai'i.|||
|Is a Water Right Required to Pump Geothermal Fluids?||No|
|Contacts/Agencies:||Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Commission on Water Resource Management|
State Water Use Process
In Hawaii, geothermal resources, including hot brines and waters associated with the resource, are considered minerals for regulatory purposes. As such, water removed from the ground in order to obtain geothermal resources is regulated as part of the mineral resource and not otherwise subject to Hawaii water law.
Hawaii defines geothermal energy and associated resources as: “the natural heat of the earth, the energy, in whatever form, below the surface of the earth present in, resulting from, or created by, or which may be extracted from, such natural heat, and all minerals in solution or other products obtained from naturally heated fluids, brines, associated gases, and steam, in whatever form, found below the surface of the earth, but excluding oil, hydrocarbon gas, other hydrocarbon substances, and any water, mineral in solution, or other product obtained from naturally heated fluids, brines, associated gases, and steam, in whatever form, found below the surface of the earth, having a temperature of 150 degrees Fahrenheit or less, and not used for electrical power generation. H.R.S. 182-1 – Reservation and Disposition of Government Mineral Rights, Definitions As such, even water associated with a resource at temperatures less than 150 degrees is still considered a geothermal resource if the resource is used for electrical power generation.
Where the geothermal facility requires the use of water for ancillary purposes involved in geothermal development projects (cooling water, dust suppression, etc.), developers will likely need to obtain water through a surface water use permit.
Surface Water Use Permit
The Hawaii Department of Land and Natural Resources Commission on Water Resource Management has administrative authority to establish a new use of surface water or modify an existing surface water use permit in a designated surface water management area. Hawaii Revised Statutes 174C. Interested developers must submit a application for DLNR Form SWUPA-N. Uses subject to a surface water use permit include any withdrawal, diversion, impoundment, or consumptive use of water in a designated water management area. H.A.R. 13-171 - Designation and Regulation of Water Management Areas.
No surface water use permit is required for domestic consumption of surface water by individual users, for uses on any Maui Department of Water Supply water system, or for uses outside of the designated water management area. H.A.R. 13-171 - Designation and Regulation of Water Management Areas.
Local Water Use Process
Policies & Regulations
- 16 U.S.C. § 1456
- 33 U.S.C. 1329 - Nonpoint Source Management Programs
- Appendix S-50 - Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) - Public Utilities Commission
- Appendix S-51 - Transmission Line Approval - Public Utilities Commission
- EPA Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments (CZARA) Section 6217 Webpage
- EPA's Clean Water Act Section 319 Webpage
- EPA's Hawaii NPS Program Webpage
- ETrans Federal Permitting Transmission Tracking System
- Edison Electric Institute State Generation and Transmission Siting Directory
- Glossary of Transmission Grid Integration Terms
- H. R. S. 182 - Reservation and Disposition of Government Mineral Rights
- H.A.R. 11-200 - Environmental Impact Statement Rules
- H.A.R. 11-23 - Underground Injection Control
- H.A.R. 11-261 - Hazardous Waste Management
- H.A.R. 11-265 - Hazardous Management: Interim Status Standard for Owners and Operators
- H.A.R. 11-281 - Underground Storage Tanks
- H.A.R. 11-46 - Community Noise Control
- H.A.R. 11-54 - Water Quality Standards
- H.A.R. 11-55 - Water Pollution Control
- H.A.R. 11-60.1 - Air Pollution Control
- H.A.R. 11-62 - Wastewater Systems
- H.A.R. 13-171 - Designation and Regulation of Water Management Areas
- H.A.R. 13-185 - Rules of Practice and Procedure for Geothermal and Cable System Development Permitting
- H.A.R. 13-197 - Hawai`i Historic Places Review Board
- H.A.R. 13-198 - Hawai`i and National Register of Historic Places Programs
- H.R.S. 174 - Water and Land Development
- HDOT Forms
- Hawaii Administrative Rules Pertaining to Historic Preservation
- Hawaii Air Pollution Control Permits Webpage
- Hawaii Application for Community Noise Permit (DOH Form CNP)
- Hawaii Application for Community Noise Variance (DOH Form)
- Hawaii Application for Surface Water Use Permit for Proposed New Use in a Designated Surface Water Management Area (DLNR Form SWUPA-N)
- Hawaii Clean Energy Iniative - Construction Upon a State Highway Permit Packet
- Hawaii Clean Energy Iniative Use and Occupancy Permit
- Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative - Transmission Line Approval Permit Packet
- Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative Certificate of Public Convenience and Necessity Permit Packet
- Hawaii Clean Energy Initiative Permit to Cross or Enter the State Energy Corridor
- Hawaii Clean Water Branch Forms Webpage
- Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management Webpage
- Hawaii Conservation District Use Application (DLNR CDUA Form)
- Hawaii DOH Hazardous Waste Section Webpage
- Hawaii DOH Solid Waste Section Webpage
- Hawaii Department of Health Clean Air Branch Webpage
- Hawaii Department of Health Underground Storage Tank Webpage
- Hawaii Department of Health Website
- Hawaii Department of Health e-Permitting Portal Webpage
- Hawaii EIS-EA Permit Packet
- Hawaii Emergency Planning and Community Right-To-Know-Act Chemical Inventory Reporting Permit Packet (Appendix S-10)
- Hawaii Guide for Filing Community Noise Permit Applications
- Hawaii Guide for Filing Community Noise Variance Applications
- … further results
"Water Use" is not in the list of possible values (Land Use, Land Access, Exploration, Well Field, General Construction, Power Plant, Environment, On Site Evaluation, Cultural Resources, Water Quality, Air Quality, Geological Resources, Aesthetic Resources, Waste & Hazardous Material, Water Access, Site Considerations, Transmission Siting & Interconnection, Plant Decommissioning, Biological Resources, Land Use Assessment) for this property.
- Hawaii Revised Statutes 174C, State Water Code (2013).
- Hawaii Revised Statute 523A-2, Definition of Mineral Resources (2012).
- H. R. S. 182 - Reservation and Disposition of Government Mineral Rights (2012).