What is so important about Molokai’s water situation?

Farming in the Shade

Monday, March 25th, 2013

Farming in the Shade

Joe Kennedy stands on his porch, surrounded by a food forest that has provided crops for seven years.

Along Hua`ai Road in Ho`olehua, there’s a wooded area grown over with weeds and bushes. This area is disguised as a simple, unkempt forest, but within it lays a flourishing garden of fruits and vegetables, all growing in the shade.

Molokai resident Joe Kennedy is the man behind the food forest. He began planting crops there last March, and a year later he has healthy, productive plants that use each other for support and protection. Avocado, taro and spinach are just a few of Kennedy’s crops.…

Mateo’s Mana`o

Sunday, March 17th, 2013

Mateo’s Mana`o


Danny Mateo’s time as Maui County council chair ended at noon Jan. 2. The next minute he started his work in the Mayor’s office as an executive assistant and liaison for the county and State legislature.

“Retirement for me is not in the immediate future,” he said over coffee at Kanemitsu Bakery Saturday. “I still have a lot to offer. As long as there is fire in the fireplace I will continue what I do.”

This means Mateo will continue to be a voice for the people of Molokai and work to improve the island, something he did for 10 years as a councilmember before he reached his term limit.  …

Solar Hot Water Molokai Training

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Sustainable Living Institute of Maui News Release
Want to learn about solar hot water installation? Now’s your chance, in an upcoming training program offered on Molokai. The Solar Hot Water Training Program is a hybrid course that combines six weeks of online classes followed by three final days of classes held on-site at the UH Molokai Education Center.

The training provides entry-level training in solar hot water design and installation. The curriculum introduces students to solar thermal applications, theory, safety issues, troubleshooting and monitoring, solar thermal design and installation, and licensing and permitting requirements. The course includes both classroom and hands-on experience.…

Know Your Water, Know Your Responsibilities

Sunday, October 28th, 2012

Know Your Water, Know Your Responsibilities

A panel of state officials spoke about issues surrounding water policies on Molokai. Photo by Eileen Chao.

Water is an essential component to life –without it, we would cease to exist. Few know this better than the agricultural farmers of Molokai, who each use nearly 6,000 gallons of water per acre per day, according to Alton Arakaki, extension agent for the University of Hawaii –College of Tropical Agriculture and Human Resources (UH-CTAHR). While water is so important, many residents and farmers don’t know where it comes from, who’s responsible for it and what policies govern its distribution. In order to educate and guide the community in the ways of water, a panel was held on Molokai last Friday to provide information that is important to understanding the use of agricultural water on Molokai and its distribution via the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS).…

Monsanto Fund Donates $20,000 for Molokai Watershed Protection

Sunday, October 14th, 2012

Monsanto Molokai News Release

The Monsanto Fund awarded a $20,000 grant to The Nature Conservancy (TNC) of Hawaii for watershed protection at Kamakou Preserve on Molokai. Since 2006, the Monsanto Fund has contributed a total of $130,000 to TNC’s protection and restoration efforts of critical watershed and fragile ecosystems on Molokai.

Located high in the mountains of East Molokai, the 2,774-acre Kamakou Preserve is a rainforest like no other on the planet. This magnificent natural treasure not only shelters hundreds of native plants and animals, but also serves as an important source of water for the island and its people.

TNC’s work at Kamakou Preserve, in collaboration with the public and private landowners of the East Molokai Watershed Partnership, is focused on invasive animal and weed control.…

Ranch Seeks to Renew Water Permit

Sunday, July 29th, 2012

Ranch Seeks to Renew Water Permit

For the past five years, Molokai Properties Limited, better known as Molokai Ranch, has been illegally transporting drinking water to west end residents through water lines intended to serve agricultural users. Now, they are seeking to legalize their use of the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS) and obtain a permit to continue transporting water through the irrigation lines.

The Ranch is in the process of completing an Environmental Assessment (EA) of their use of the MIS. Receiving community feedback is a vital part that process according to Colette Sakoda, environmental planning program manager for Environet, the company contracted by the Ranch to assist in the EA.…

Appeal of Ranch Water Rates Denied

Sunday, July 1st, 2012

In an attempt to aid west end Molokai residents paying some of the highest water rates in the nation, Maui County filed an appeal last year in the state Intermediate Court of Appeals against the utilities of Molokai Properties, Ltd. (MPL), better known as Molokai Ranch. That appeal was recently denied, leaving ratepayers struggling under rates that have been called outrageous.

The appeal, filed last March, contested the Public Utility Commission (PUC)’s decision to approve permanent water rate hikes for hundreds of residents on the west end served by one of the Ranch’s subsidiary utilities, Wai`ola O Molokai. Wai`ola customers in Maunaloa, Kualapu`u, Kipu, Manawainui and the Molokai Industrial Park areas are left paying rates almost five times higher than their bills a few years ago.…

Maui County Gets Natural Disaster Designation

Thursday, May 17th, 2012

USDA News Release

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has designated Maui County and Kalawao County as a primary natural disaster area due to losses caused by a an ongoing drought that began January 1, 2012, and continues.

“Assistance at this point and time is critically important for producers in Hawaii, especially in helping them keep their farmland healthy for the remainder of the year,” said Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack. “President Obama and I realize that during this time of disaster, federal assistance will be needed until conditions improve and farmers strive to recover from their losses.”

All qualified farm operators in the designated areas are eligible for low interest emergency (EM) loans from USDA’s Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met.…

Molokai Mom on a Mission

Thursday, May 10th, 2012

Molokai Mom on a Mission

(see caption at bottom)

By Mercy Ritte

As beads of perspiration gathered across my forehead, I realized it was unusually hot for a 7:30 a.m. morning walk. I peeked through the top of my stroller, and thank goodness my little one remained unaffected by the heat. Instead, he babbled gleefully and pointed to nearly everything in sight.

Some mornings I’m faced with a relentless wind or an unexpected rain shower, but with a plastic weather guard over my child’s stroller, he remains protected from the elements. As for me, I can stand to be without warmth and feeling uncomfortable, as long as through it all, my child remains unaffected.…

Bills Supporting Irrigation System Move Forward

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012

Bills Supporting Irrigation System Move Forward

Image Courtesy of www.capitol.hawaii.gov

Rep. Mele Carroll News Release 

The Molokai Irrigation System (MIS), currently facing drought conditions, has help on the way from Representative Mele Carroll. Last Friday at the Hawaii State Capitol, the House Committee on Agriculture held a hearing on two measures that would address the short-term and long-term concerns regarding the MIS.

Both House Concurrent Resolutions (HCR) 207 and 208, introduced by Rep. Carroll who currently represents the island of Molokai, were unanimously passed unamended in the House Committee of Agriculture.

The first House Concurrent Resolution 207 requests that the Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture convene a task force to develop long range goals and plans for the MIS.…