Howzit Howard


November 13th… birthday of Robert Louis Stevenson… anniversary of the dedication of the Vietnam War Memorial… and the day 1,100 Hawaii state employees are set to lose their jobs. But despite a specific date, this situation is still fluid.

If there is any kind of cutback at all, whether outright layoffs or just furloughs, I predict you will see noticeable disruption of state services even if all affected state workers suck it up and try to provide as much service as before.

For example, the Hawaii Department of Agriculture has more than 120 people slated for layoff including about 70 from the plant industry division, I am told, which will disrupt plant inspections and either disrupt imports or allow imports without inspections.

Howzit Howard

Financial and Management Audit of the Moloka’i Irrigation

Report No. 08-03 February 2008
Marion M. Higa
Office of the Auditor State Auditor
465 South King Street, Room 500
State of Hawai?i Honolulu, Hawai?i 96813
(808) 587-0800 FAX (808) 587-0830

Read the Full Report Here


We conducted this audit in response to Senate Concurrent Resolution No. 176, of the 2007 legislative session. The Moloka’i Irrigation System provides about 1.4 billion gallons of water annually to its users. Construction was started in 1957 to bring water from the eastern end of Moloka’i to the central farming areas as part of a federal and state commitment to native Hawaiian homesteaders. The system consists of collection dams and deep wells; a transmission tunnel, pipes, and flume; a reservoir; and distribution pipes to customers. Among the customers is the Moloka’i Ranch, via a rental agreement.

We found that while the Department of Agriculture inherited a broken system, little has been done to learn about system problems or to create a plan to address them. The department received historical data on the system from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, and yet it was not clear that department personnel understood the significance of its history. Numerous studies recommended management and operational improvements. For example, problems reported in a 1987 study still exist today, unadressed.

The department?s flawed management endangers agriculture in Moloka’i. It has been unable to reconcile its responsibilities as stewards to the irrigation system and obligations to the Hawaiian homesteaders. While it recognizes the homesteaders’ two-thirds water preference accorded by Section 168-4, HRS, this is not reflected in any planning. Non-homestead farmers consume approximately 80 percent of the system’s available water. Effectively, the two seemingly complementary responsibilities have become competitors with the needs of the homesteaders subsumed to the interests of larger agricultural business.