What is so important about Molokai’s water situation?

Molokai Irrigation System: Safe for drinking?

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Opinion by Walter Ritte

Molokai Ranch has decided not to build its own drinking water delivery line from its Well 17 to Maunaloa and Kaluakoi residents. The pure Well 17 ground water is put into the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS), which uses a large open-air agriculture reservoir. The water then goes into the MIS transmission line past the airport to Mahana. It is then pumped up the hill into another open-air reservoir and treated through a sand filter before being delivered to west end residents.

A dangerous situation now exists, as the open air MIS is now surrounded by Monsanto’s GMO fields.…

Multi-family County Water Rates

Wednesday, October 16th, 2013

Maui County Council News Release

Maui County water service rates for multi-family dwellings increased recently, and the Maui County Council’s Water Resources Committee is asking for public input. The Committee considered water service rates for multi-family dwellings at its meeting two weeks ago, Councilmember Michael P. Victorino announced.

At the Administration’s request, the Fiscal Year 2014 budget, which took effect July 1, 2013, increased the water service rate for multi-family dwellings by 15 cents per 1,000 gallons, to $4.95, if more than 15,000 gallons per month are consumed.

“The rate for 15,000 gallons is easily attained within a couple of days for most of Maui County’s multi-unit properties with only one meter,” said Victorino, who chairs the committee.…

Global Land and Water Issues Hit Home

Thursday, October 10th, 2013

A community discussion held last Monday about how the world is handling its natural resources lead to call for unity after an emotionally charged debate arose over agricultural corporations and their use of land and water on Molokai.

The event, hosted by the University of Hawaii (UH), gathered a panel guests from the UH and across the globe to hold a week-long series of public discussions in Honolulu and on Molokai about natural resource security and appropriation on a local and worldwide scale. Molokai was their first stop.

“When we think about the kinds of impacts that humans have had on the planet in the last 50 years, it is more damaging than any other period in human history,” said Noe Goodyear-Ka`opua, a professor from the UH Political Science Department.…

East Slope Watershed Protection

Wednesday, September 25th, 2013

East Slope Watershed Protection

East Slope Watershed Project map. Light green areas represent proposed East Slope land, dark green is zoned conservation, dotted yellow lines show proposed fence lines and red lines represent natural barriers (cliffs.) All land west of the East Slope area is already part of the East Molokai Watershed Partnership. Map courtesy Steph Dunbar-Co.

Planners, landowners, natural resource managers and community members are putting their heads together to protect one of Molokai’s most important resources — water. Many have noticed deterioration of native forests in recent years, especially on the east end, because of invasive species, and they say something needs to be done.…

Rising from the Rocks

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Rising from the Rocks

Native plants making a comeback

Editorial by Catherine Cluett

We’re bumping along a rocky track, ascending steeply through a landscape some would call lunar. Ahead of us is mostly gray—Kawela’s barren, stony slopes and gulches, topped by a thin line of green where the mountaintops meet the sky. But I can’t help turning in my seat of our all-terrain vehicle toward the view behind us—each bump expands a breathtaking panorama of Maui to the east, Lanai’s slender back, the turquoise fingers of Molokai’s south shore reef, and the slopes of Pu`u Nana to Molokai’s west.

Panorama from about 3,000 ft. elevation showing Maui on the left, Kaho`olawe, Lanai in the center, and Molokai’s south shore reef.…

Partnering for Preservation

Wednesday, August 14th, 2013

Partnering for Preservation

Protecting Molokai’s Watersheds

An understanding of the connections between mountains and ocean — mauka and makai — is rooted in ancient Hawaiian culture. Today, invasive species and human impacts are threatening to clog Molokai’s reef — the most extensive coral reef in the Main Hawaiian Islands — with sediment washed down from the mountain slopes. Today, scientists are doing studies to provide proof of this evidence and offer their data to help find solutions. And today, Molokai residents are meeting together to discuss those solutions and taking action to protect the island’s most valuable resources — both the mountains and the ocean.…

Weathering the Storms

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013


A look at disaster planning on Molokai

Hurricanes, tsunamis, flooding – catastrophes like these can quickly go from bad to worse in a place as isolated as Molokai. In the midst of disaster, the island will rely first on its own – a small team of dedicated responders who are doing their best at planning for the worst.

When a tsunami hit Hawaii three years ago, 25 out of the 29 damage cases in Maui County were from Molokai, according to the Red Cross. Though these cases didn’t qualify as a disaster, the aftermath brings with it fear of what will carry Molokai through a time of need.…

Hale Connects People to Land and Sea

Monday, May 27th, 2013

Hale Connects People to Land and Sea

At Ka Honua Momona (KHM) Ali`i fishpond, workers take breaks in the shade of a large traditional thatched hale, where it is cool even on the hottest days. Office workers can look out at the hale and 30-acre pond from the windows of the sustainable office building where administrative work supports KHM’s mission of sustainability.

KHM hasn’t always had these amenities. The office and hale are the newest addition to the Ali`i fishpond, which nine years ago was overgrown with mangrove and knee-deep in mud. Today, because of the efforts of staff and volunteers eager to preserve the site’s ancient heritage, the Ali`i and Kalakoeli fishponds serve as a place for learning, sharing and restoring.…

Maximum Protection, Minimal Change at Papohaku

Wednesday, May 15th, 2013

Maximum Protection, Minimal Change at Papohaku


Papohaku sand dunes protect the water from runoff and nearby homes from high tide swells. Now the system that guards so much could receive some protection from human threats. The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) proposed increased protection for the Papohaku dune system. While the changes will not likely bring enforcement of stricter development rules, officials said they hope the protection would raise awareness of the dunes’ value.

Red dirt flows into the ocean where dunes were demolished on the west end of Molokai.
Photo contributed by Arleone Dibben-Young

A 500-page document dedicated solely to the preservation of the dune system at Papohaku stresses the environmental and cultural value of the system.…

Kamakou: 30 Years of Preservation

Friday, April 12th, 2013

Kamakou: 30 Years of Preservation

High in the mountains of Molokai, nature and history grow together in a forest that echoes with the riches of ancient Hawaii. A narrow boardwalk trails through depths of vivid green. Drops of water rest upon leaves and moss, and stillness is interrupted only by the occasional bird or damsel fly.

The pepe`opae boardwalk runs through Kamakou Preserve

Kamakou Preserve appears to be effortlessly pristine, an abundance of native life remained untouched since ancient times. But the prese
rve as it appears today is a result of 30 years of human determination. It represents an effort to reverse the effects of invasive species, restore native qualities and maintain a connection between culture and nature.…