What is so important about Molokai’s water situation?

Water Conservation Request From Kawela to Kaunakakai

Friday, April 5th, 2024

Maui Water Dept. News Release

The Department of Water Supply requests residents and tourists of Molokai from Kawela to Kaunakakai to conserve water until further notice. The request is due to an inoperable well pump.…

122% Rate Increased Proposed for MIS

Wednesday, August 30th, 2023

122% Rate Increased Proposed for MIS

By Jack Kiyonaga, Editor 

The Molokai Irrigation System (MIS) funnels water from the green slopes of Waikolu Valley to the hills of Ho’olehua, where it feeds thousands of acres of homesteads and farms. Some of Molokai’s biggest farms including Bayer, Coffees of Hawaii and the Ag Park, as well as homestead residents, rely exclusively on the MIS. Now, the Department of Agriculture is proposing a 122 percent rate increase for the system. 

An increase of 122 percent means that a monthly bill of $500 would become $1,100. 

The steep rate increase will pay for replacing the water meters, repairs in Waikolu Valley, and other capital improvement projects, according to Kirk Saiki, an engineering program manager for the Department of Agriculture. …

Water Commission Should Uphold Decision to Restore Kawela Stream

Wednesday, May 31st, 2023

Community Contributed

Opinion by Walter Ritte, Molokai Nō Ka Heke

Last October, the State Commission on Water Resource Management ordered Molokai Properties, Ltd. to fully restore Kawela Stream, and to find ways to use the reservoirs and other stream diversions MPL already owns to supply offstream uses. MPL requested a contested case to oppose the Commission’s decision to permanently restore Kawela Stream.

The Water Commission should uphold its decision to restore Kawela Stream. 

The Commission followed the law. Under the Hawaii Constitution and Water Code, the Water Commission must protect, restore, and reestablish instream values, including the use of stream waters for the exercise of traditional and customary Native Hawaiian rights.…

Temporary Water Shut-Off for Hoʻolehua

Wednesday, February 8th, 2023

DHHL News Release 

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), through its contractor Goodfellow Bros., will install new valves on the Hoʻolehua Water System on Molokai during the evenings of Feb. 21 and Feb. 23, weather permitting.

Water service is scheduled to be shut off from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. on both dates for customers in the Hoʻolehua area, including businesses and Kualapuʻu School.

Affected customers are asked to store water and adjust schedules accordingly. In the event of technical difficulties or unforeseen conditions such as weather, potable water trucks will be placed near the Lanikeha Center and the DHHL baseyard for community use. …

Legal Battles Over Well 17 and Kawela Stream Continue

Wednesday, February 1st, 2023

By Jack Kiyonaga, Community Reporter 

Two long disputed water resources, Well 17 and Kawela Stream, are gradually making headway towards resolution. A panel of lawyers from Native Hawaiian and environmental legal firms, hosted by Councilmember Keani Rawlins-Fernandez and other Molokai residents, shared updates and legal avenues for resolution with a huge group of community members two weeks ago at Mitchell Pauole Center. 

Molokai Ranch has been withdrawing water from Well 17 for decades without a permit, while diverting water from Kawela Stream for nearly a century in what has shown to be in significant excess of the Ranch is actually using. …

It’s 2040, Do You Know Where Your Water Is?

Wednesday, December 14th, 2022

It’s 2040, Do You Know Where Your Water Is?

By Jack Kiyonaga, Community Reporter 

On an island, water is life. “Ola i ka wai.” So what does the future of this life look like?  

On Dec. 8, Maui County presented a preliminary draft for Molokai’s future water production goals and usage. The plan examined current water demand and production on Molokai and consequently how to meet future water needs. 

The “preliminary” aspect of the draft means that Molokai community members have a chance to comment on it before a “much more detailed” draft which takes into account these comments will be made available. 

The Molokai Water Plan, formally known as the Water Use and Development Plan, is part of a statewide requirement that each county adequately prepare for future water demands and production.…

Progress on Water Policy in Maui County

Wednesday, July 27th, 2022

Community Contributed

Opinion by Keani Rawlins-Fernandez

Shortly after joining the council, I noticed unfairness in the structure of our county’s potable water rates.

A hotel or resort using over 35,000 gallons of water was charged a lower rate than a single-family dwelling using the same amount. This disparity was based on a technical defect in the rate structure: single-family dwellings had four tiers while the other category of all other general users each had only three. 

Hotels and resorts are used by visitors for the profit of offshore investors. Single-family dwellings are where our local residents raise their families. 

I have presented twice to the Board of Water Supply, with the intention of working with them and the Department of Water Supply to balance important policy goals—conservation and revenue generation—in addition to equity in rates. …

Water Quality Report Available Online

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

Maui County News Release 

The Maui County Department of Water Supply announces the 2022 publication of the 2022 Water Quality Report for results of testing compiled from Jan. 1, 2021, to Dec. 31, 2021. This year marks the 24th year of providing this information to customers.

The annual report provides information about water quality and how the Maui County’s water compares with established federal and state drinking water standards. The department encourages customers to review the report. It provides details about the source and quality of the drinking water in 2021.

In an effort to be more environmentally responsible and cut down on costs, the department no longer prints these reports.…

Hoʻolehua Water Temporary Shut Off

Wednesday, July 6th, 2022

DHHL News Release 

The Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL), through its contractor Goodfellow Brothers, will conduct repair work on the main water storage tanks and distribution lines of the Ho‘olehua Water System beginning Monday, July 18.

As a result, DHHL will temporarily shut off service from its Hoʻolehua Water System to customers in the Ho‘olehua area on Tuesday, July 19 at 10 p.m. through Wednesday, July 20 at 6 a.m., subject to delays.

Water system customers in Ho‘olehua and Kalamaʻula are advised to conserve water ahead of and during the scheduled service interruption. Upon reactivation, some customers may experience low water pressure until the system is fully pressurized.…

Kawela Stream Diverted Again

Wednesday, June 29th, 2022

Molokai No Ka Heke News Release

On April 19, the state Commission on Water Resource Management approved a historic “median flow” level of stream restoration for Kawela Stream, and directed Molokai Ranch to fully restore Kawela Stream for a period of six months while the Ranch conducts an audit of its wasteful and inefficient mountain water system. Community group Molokai No Ka Heke has been pursuing restoration for Kawela since 2019.

On May 11, Molokai No Ka Heke joined Water Commission staff and Molokai Ranch lawyers at the East Kawela dam, and witnessed the temporary full restoration of Kawela. The stream had overtopped the dam, the diversion intake was stopped, and all Kawela water was flowing in the stream as ordered by the Commission.…