The True Cost of The Ranch’s Water Problem

Timmy Leong looks at the old Molokai Ranch mountain water reservoir, which is filled by stream diversions in the Kamakou mountain range. 

Editorial by Walter Ritte

This problem will affect ALL of our pocketbooks on Molokai, as the county may one day be responsible for Molokai Ranch’s water companies.

Here are the costs proposed by the PUC now: Kaluakoi will increase from $3.18 to $4.48 per 1000 gallons. Kualapu`u and Maunaloa rates will go way up from $1.85 to a staggering $4.10 per 1000 gallons. These rates are arbitrary, unprecedented, and ridiculous. The state government is siding with big business and putting the solution to this water problem on the backs of the public.

Molokai Ranch mismanaged their water systems, and now wants to dump them. We need to realize what the actual costs of this abandonment are. 

Who will pay for the recent loss of permission to use the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS) as a means to transmit water from Well 17 to the West End? The cost will include an EA or EIS, and may very well include the need for a new pipeline from Kualapu`u to the West End

The Ranch also needs a new water permit to even use Well 17. Can you imagine the cost for these permit hearings before the State Water Commission? What’s more, the Ranch’s water supply from the mountain streams is now in jeopardy. Formal requests to implement “Instream Water Flow Standards” to protect the streams have been filed.

Add these three problems to the substandard water delivery system on the West End, and you begin to see the true picture of what the Ranch is dumping and what the true cost to ALL of us will be if and when the county takes over.     

To create a crisis, the Ranch is now jeopardizing our health and safety by threatening to shut down their utilities come the end of August. So how do we protect ourselves in spite of a governor who is supporting Molokai Ranch and telling the county what to do?

The first important step is solidarity; attend the Water Community Meeting at 6p.m. on Wednesday, August 20, at 6 p.m. at Mitchell Pauole Center. We will invite our elected officials, and we will present a public voice and positions on this issue. The amount of people turning out for this meeting will determine who will end up paying for these mismanaged water systems: you and I, or big business.

We will demand that the government hold Molokai Ranch responsible for the mismanagement of its water systems and not the community. We will demand a physical and financial audit of the water systems. We will call for eminent domain proceedings against Molokai Ranch lands. We will denounce the PUC and DCCA for their negligence and shameful roles against the public, whom they should have been protecting. We will decry this shameful and dangerous precedent the governor has set in allowing her agencies to bail out big business and place the burden on the rate payers.

We need the community’s support as we begin to organize and speak as one on August 20 at MPC. Don’t let the governor and Molokai Ranch get away with this one.

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2 Responses to “The True Cost of The Ranch’s Water Problem”

  1. Marie Granados says:

    I do hope this will reach Wiki – I am an old friend who
    worked with him in HP in the Die Cast Shop. The reason
    I was looking for his address is I am turning 80 years
    old and my family is having an 80th birthday party for
    me and were asking for old friends and photos and I was
    taking a walk down memory lane and ran across a photo
    (taken in Molokai) of Wiki and his wife near the old
    church that Wiki’s grandfather had attended. I would
    love to hear from Wiki and if wishes to reach me he may
    call me at (530) 268-8721. I live in Northern California and am still doing well for being 80. I do
    hope that you will forward this message to Ed Mederios.

    Sincerly,

    Marie Granados

  2. FH says:

    Walter,

    Your understandable and long-standing animosity for the Ranch needs to be tempered by concern for your neighbors. Sickness, death and civil unrest are the potential effects of a shutoff of the water and sewage to the 1200 customers of MPL’s utilities. I need only recall from several years back, the effects of a rumored fuel barge schedule glitch to demonstrate the potential for panic behavior here. This will be a man-made disaster that can be fully mitigated in advance by appropriate action to keep the water and sewage systems operational while the details of holding MPL accountable are sorted out and established. Ignoring the immediate needs of the Moloka’i community to pursue a vendetta against MPL would be reprehensible.

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