Technical Report No. 57
Eamon T. Morahan, and Hiroshi Yamauchi
HAES Journal Series No. 1511 – August 1972
Hawaii’s system of water rights consist of a “bundle of rights” which are variously attached to fresh surface waters and to artesian ground waters. Surface water rights are for the most part “unique” to Hawaii and are based on ancient customs and traditions of the islands. on the other hand, the correlative rights doctrine which applies to most ground-water basins in the western world also applies (since 1929) to artesian ground waters in Hawaii. In general, Hawaiian surface water rights are fairly well defined and offer greater investment security than the correlative rights doctrine with its inherent tenure uncertainty. Unlike the case of the correlative rights doctrine, flexibility for surface water reallocations to alternative uses is not necessarily gained at the expense of security.