Watershed Partnerships

Partnering for Water

Hahai nō ka ua i ka ulu lā'au.
Rains always follow the forest.

Forested lands account for 1.5 million acres, or more than one-third of our state. These forests are our islands’ primary watersheds, supplying us with hundreds of billions of gallons of fresh water each year.

Watershed partnerships are the most effective tool for the long-term protection of Hawaii's verdant forested watersheds. These voluntary, cooperative partnerships enable public and private landowners and local communities to share their expertise and resources, and jointly manage forested lands across ownership boundaries in an efficient and cost-effective manner. We have a practical need to protect our future water supply. Fresh water is not an unlimited resource, and its ready availability, quality and sustainability are linked to the health of our forested watersheds. When we fail to protect our forests and allow our watersheds to degrade, we put our future prosperity and quality of life at risk.

In 1991, the Conservancy and the State of Hawai'i pioneered the state's first watershed partnership in East Maui, joining forces with other public and private landowners to protect an entire 100,000-acre forest ecosystem that is the island's primary source of water. The success of the East Maui Watershed Partnership spurred the formation of similar partnerships across the state.

In 2003, the Conservancy helped to establish the Hawai'i Association of Watershed Partnerships to build public and private support for watershed partnerships, and to develop the capacity of these partnerships to manage and protect our forested watersheds. Today, the HAWP is working to protect more than 2.2 million acres of critical forest and conservation lands statewide.

The Conservancy is a member or associate member of eight out of the 11 watershed partnerships existing in the islands today:

Hawai'i:  Kohala Watershed Partnership, Three Mountain Alliance, Mauna Kea Watershed Alliance

Maui:  East Maui Watershed Partnership, Leeward Haleakalā Watershed Restoration Partnership, West Maui Mountains Watershed Partnership

Lāna'i:  Lāna'i Forest and Watershed Partnership 

Moloka'i:  East Moloka'i Watershed Partnership

O'ahu:  Ko'olau Mountains Watershed Partnership, Wai'anae Mountains Watershed Alliance

Kaua'i:  Kaua'i Watershed Alliance


   Please leave this field empty
x animal

Sign up for Nature eNews!

Sign Up for Nature e-News

Learn about the places you love. Find out
how you can help.

Thank you for joining our online community!

We’ll be in touch soon with more Nature Conservancy news, updates and exciting stories.

Please leave this field empty

I'm already on the list!

Read our privacy policy.