Two companies to release Maui stream water as ordered by the state

The state says Wailuku Water Co. and Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. will begin releasing water to Waihee River and North and South Waiehu Streams in central Maui next week.

The state Department of Land and Natural Resources says the companies next Monday will act to comply with a state water commission order issued in June.

But the move is unlikely to satisfy two Maui groups who want the companies to return more water than the commission ordered.

Hui o Na Wai Eha and Maui Tomorrow appealed the water commission’s ruling in state court last month.

They say they’re being deprived of the water they need to grow taro and restore natural habitat.

Two companies to release Maui stream water as ordered by the state – Hawaii News –

USGS releases report on Na Wai Eha – The Maui News


WAILUKU – A U.S. Geological Survey study 4 years in the making and released this week describes the effects of taking millions of gallons of water daily from "the Four Streams" of Na Wai Eha that originate in the West Maui Mountains.

USGS also presented a complex matrix showing the amounts of stream water needed to return to each of the Central Maui streams to revitalize flora, fauna and aquatic life; to recharge the aquifer and to promote taro growing. The report also details the amount of water necessary to resume mauka-to-makai, or mountain-to-ocean stream flow, something not seen for more than a century of stream diversions to irrigate sugar crops.

"The idea is to give people and the commissioners the tools to understand the effects of a decision to divert water and adjust those diversions," said USGS hydrologist Delwyn Oki, who presented the findings of his 176-page report to about 50 people in Maui Economic Opportunity’s classroom Tuesday night.

The demand is there for locally grown food – Starbulletin



By Cynthia Oi

POSTED: 01:30 a.m. HST, Jan 03, 2010

Growing food is better then picking up cigarette buts at the resort.
CLICK for a larger image

Now comes a study suggesting that early Hawaiian agriculture was vast and substantially more complex than previously known, implying that what was grown fed a population of perhaps a million people, which is about the present occupancy of Hawaii.

Samuel M. Gon III was clearly excited by the findings of a team of researchers and scientists from noted institutions.

"If a million mouths could be fed back then, this points to a future where we can wean our reliance on food from the outside world," said Gon, who as senior scientist with The Nature Conservancy in Hawaii participated in the study.

Water staff: Restore one of 19 streams – The Maui News


Attorney for taro farmers calls recommendations ‘ludicrous’

POSTED: December 13, 2009

WAILUKU – In what appears to be a blow to East Maui Native Hawaiian taro farmers and environmentalists – and a potential much-needed win for struggling Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. – the state Commission on Water Resource Management staff has recommended that water diverted by HC&S be restored to only one of the 19 streams it uses to irrigate its sugar crop.

The staff findings are only recommendations, but Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. attorneys said on Saturday that they believe the seven-member commission will rely heavily on the staff assessments and recommendations when it renders its decision, most likely during a public meeting scheduled for Wednesday in Paia.

The meeting will begin at 10 a.m. at the Paia Community Center with a staff presentation and time for questions from Water Resource Management Commission members, Chairwoman Laura Thielen said on Saturday. Thielen is also director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The public will get a chance to testify beginning at 1 p.m., and Thielen said she expects her fellow commissioners to reach a consensus that evening or the next day, depending on how many people want to speak.

Thielen said she received the 56-page report, signed by Deputy Director Ken Kawahara, last week.

Thielen said she thinks that the staff "did a very good, very thorough job," but she will listen to other commissioners’ questions and public testimony before making a decision on how she will cast her own vote on the issue. She also noted that the Native Hawaiian groups did get more than 12 million gallons of water a day restored to streams in the same watershed last year through an almost identical commission process.

Reuters AlertNet – Micronesia atoll grows taro in concrete to hold off sea surges

logo_reuters_media_us By Justin Nobel

YAP, Federated States of Micronesia (Alertnet) – Giant tides inundated the remote atolls of Micronesia last December, scouring beaches, damaging homes and inundating banana and taro crops. The President of the Federated States of Micronesia, Emanuel Mori, declared a nationwide state of emergency and relief rice was shipped in.

But on several atolls in Yap, one of Micronesia’s four states, taro planted in elevated concrete pits survived.

"This is a way to save the people here," said Stephen Mara, an agriculture teacher at a high school in Yap.

Devastating tides, called "king tides," are one way sea level rise will manifest itself across the western Pacific in the coming decades, said Charles Fletcher, a University of Hawaii coastal geologist and co-author of a recent report on food security and climate risks in Micronesia.

Long before Pacific islands drown, as politicians and the media often predict, the islands may become uninhabitable from a lack of food. Fletcher, in particular, doesn’t think life on the atolls can last without constant humanitarian aid. But concrete may provide a respite, at least temporarily.

Restoring East Maui waterways considered – The Maui News


Water panel chair: ‘There’s only hard decisions to make’

By ILIMA LOOMIS, Staff Writer

POSTED: October 17, 2009

PAIA – A year after a state Commission on Water Resource Management ruling poured more than 12 million gallons of water per day back into eight East Maui streams, the panel is considering a proposal to restore water to 19 other East Maui waterways.

Taro farmers and plantation workers crowded the Paia Community Center on Thursday, each side pleading for enough water to survive. Chairwoman Laura Thielen said the commission is expected to return with its decision in December.

Without enough water available to fully satisfy all the demand, the commission will have to find a balance among traditional, agricultural and residential users that is unlikely to make everybody happy.

"Water issues are very tough issues," Thielen said. "There’s no bad people here; there’s only hard decisions to make."

Shave Ice – The Maui News


Shave Ice

By TOM STEVENS, For The Maui News

POSTED: September 30, 2009

Amid all the chatter and bluster of isle politics, there arise from time to time truly historic occasions. One of those is coming down on Maui next month.

On Oct. 15, the state Commission on Water Resource Management will hear closing arguments on the future of the Central Maui watershed. The 9 a.m. contested case proceeding should pack the Iao Congregational Church’s Konda Hall, so interested citizens will want to get there early. No public testimony will be taken.

To draw attention to this fateful session, a public "river walk" will be held this Friday afternoon from Iao Valley to Market Street in Wailuku. At the end of the walk, the Native Intelligence store will host water rights speakers during Wailuku’s "First Friday" festivities. Later the same day, commission staff members will travel to the Paia Community Center to seek public input from 5 to 9 p.m. on East Maui water issues.

The contested case proceeding takes as its prologue a startling "proposed decision" the commission’s hearings officer issued in April. At that time, Lawrence Miike recommended that the commission partially restore the historic flows of Central Maui’s famous "four waters" – the Waihee, Waiehu, Iao and Waikapu streams.

UH News: UH Mānoa CTAHR invites public to 2009 Waimanalo Research Station Field

University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa


Miles Hakoda, (808) 956-3093

Posted: Sep. 18, 2009

The public is invited to take an up-close look at some exciting research and outreach activities in Hawai‘i agriculture.

Who: UH Mānoa College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (CTAHR)

What: Will host its 20th Waimanalo Research Station Field Day

When: Saturday, September 26, 9 a.m. to noon

Where: Waimānalo Research Station, 41-698 Ahiki Street

Visitors will have the opportunity to see:

* corn field trials.

* Kapi‘olani Community College’s Culinary Program.

* organic pepper and eggplant field trials.

* biotechnology outreach program.

* taro varieties collection (over 90 varieties).

* plumeria tree collection.

* cacao project.

* biofuel project.

* USDA erosion control project.

The public is encouraged to bring water and wear appropriate footwear, sunscreen, comfortable loose fitting clothing and hats for sun protection.

Haku Mo‘olelo – The Maui News


Haku Mo‘olelo

By EDWIN TANJI, For The Maui News

POSTED: August 28, 2009

There may be plenty of water on Maui.

There is not enough cheap water – not when an extended period of abnormal rainfall places much of the island in drought and not when Hawaii law and court decisions require reallocation of access to the cheap water.

That’s not how state water commission hearings officer Dr. Lawrence Miike put it in his proposed findings and recommendations on setting stream flow standards for Na Wai Eha, the four major streams at Waihee, Waiehu, Wailuku and Waikapu (

But his analysis, including a synopsis on the evolution of Hawaii law on water rights, helps to explain the issue. His history doesn’t go into detail but that was not its purpose.

The Miike findings note that sugar planters in the mid-1800s were granted rights to divert water from streams by the Hawaiian monarchy, but say nothing about whether the monarchy tempered effects on downstream users.

In the post-overthrow era, Miike notes the territorial Supreme Court turned out rulings that treated water as property of landowners. But after World War II, the legal standing of water was modified by other court decisions until the 1978 Hawaii Constitutional Convention added a section that established water as a public trust.

The constitutional amendment led to a State Water Code – Hawaii Revised Statutes 174C – and sets up the Commission on Water Resource Management to create and enforce standards on use of the islands’ water resources.