The surface-water resources of Hawaii have significant cultural, aesthetic, ecologic, and economic importance. In Hawaii, surface-water resources are developed for both offstream uses (for example, drinking water, agriculture, and industrial uses) and instream uses (for example, maintenance of habitat and ecosystems, recreational activities, aesthetic values, maintenance of water quality, conveyance of irrigation and domestic water supplies, and protection of traditional and customary Hawaiian rights). Possible long-term trends in streamflow characteristics have important implications for water users, water suppliers, resource managers, and citizens in the State.
Proper management of Hawaii's streams requires an understanding of long-term trends in streamflow characteristics and their potential implications. Effects of long-term downward trends in low flows in streams include potential loss of habitat for native stream fauna and reduced water availability for offstream and instream water uses. Effects of long-term upward trends in high flows in streams include construction of bridges and water-conveyance structures that are potentially unsafe if they are not designed with proper consideration of trends in high flows.