What is so important about Molokai’s water situation?

Community Planning Continues This Month

Wednesday, November 4th, 2015

After seven months of many six-hour-long meetings and much debate and community testimony, the first phase of the Molokai Community Plan Update process has come to a close. The volunteer board of Community Plan Advisory Committee (CPAC) members wrapped up their duties of review last month, though the updated plan is still a year and a half away from being completed and the opportunities for public feedback are far from over.

County Senior Planner Jennifer Maydan said the Molokai Planning Commission (MoPC) will begin its review of the draft plan on Nov. 12 during the group’s regular meeting.

“At the meeting they will decide if they will continue to review the draft plan during their regular meetings or in a separate track,” said Maydan, via email.…

Improvements Slated for Cemetery, Water Tank

Wednesday, August 19th, 2015

Improvements Slated for Cemetery, Water Tank

A $1.2 million project to replace a 19,500-gallon steel water tank in Ho`olehua with a sturdier concrete tank is nearing completion. It’s a replacement that the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) hopes will provide a better long-term solution for water pressure problems in the area.

Photo courtesy of Halealoha Ayau.

Almost two decades ago, a steel tank was installed to help regulate water pressure, after some homeowners complained of weak water flow or overly powerful flow from showers and sinks, said DHHL Molokai Acting District Supervisor Halealoha Ayau.

However, the salty air took its toll on the steel, and the tank sustained damage from residents who sometimes use it for rifle target practice, said Ayau.…

Community Meeting For Proposed Waikolu-Pu`u Ali`i Fence Project

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

DLNR News Release

The Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), Division of Forestry and Wildlife (DOFAW)  invites the  Molokai community and interested parties to an informational meeting concerning a proposed fencing and management project in the Waikolu Valley and Pu`u Ali`i Natural Area Reserve areas.  The purpose of the proposed project is to protect the natural resources of the Pu`u Ali`i Natural Area Reserve (NAR) while improving hunting opportunities within the Molokai Forest Reserve hunting units.  The fence will help to prevent entry of pigs, goats and deer into the NAR and help to prevent erosion into nearshore waters, protect fisheries and water supplies, and conserve native Hawaiian plants and wildlife.…

Soil and Groundwater Testing for Petroleum

Wednesday, September 17th, 2014

Proposed environmental soil and groundwater testing near the wharf in Kaunakakai will take place next year to assess levels of petroleum from historic leaks. The routine testing will be performed by Chevron Environmental Management Company (CEMC) and includes evaluating the facility currently owned by Island Petroleum, Inc., and the surrounding area where their terminal is located.

“Over the years, releases of petroleum have occurred which is not uncommon in industrial areas,” said CEMC Project Manager Karl Bewley.

According to Bewley, the work CEMC will perform is a standard approach to determine if there are environmental impacts resulting from past and current petroleum terminal operations. …

Energy Festival Nixed Over Renewable Project Concerns

Tuesday, December 10th, 2013

Amid recent concerns over proposed renewable energy project Ikehu Molokai, I Aloha Molokai (IAM) has cancelled its third annual Renewable Energy Festival that was scheduled for January. The nonprofit feared the event would act as a showcase for Ikehu, falsely implying IAM’s endorsement of the project. While IAM leaders say they feel the project has potential for Molokai, they are not ready to support it based on what they consider to be a lack of public input.

“We do not want [the energy festival] to be used to help push a process that does not have community buy-in yet,” said Kanohowailuku Helm, president of IAM, a local nonprofit that supports community-based energy solutions, in an email to Maui County officials.…

Proposal Would Bring 100% Renewable Energy

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

A proposed renewable energy project for Molokai combines solar and stored hydroelectric power with the goal of 100 percent renewable energy for the island and lowered electric rates for local customers. The project, called Ikehu Molokai, is still in the early stages of discussion. It would be a joint endeavor between California-based Princeton Energy Group and landowner Molokai Ranch.

If completed, Molokai would become the first grid in the world to be converted completely to renewable energy, said Princeton CEO Steve Tabor.

“We were on sidelines for the Big Wind project [that proposed industrial wind turbines on Molokai], but we were kind of offended by the project — it was way out of scale,” said Tabor. …

Diving to the Depths of Safety

Thursday, November 14th, 2013

Diving to the Depths of Safety

Molokai Divers participated in safety training offered by Freediving instructors Internationals. Photo by Catherine Cluett

Martin Stepanek can dive more than 400 feet on a single breath of air. He’s set 13 freediving world records and knows more than anyone how dangerous the sport can be. But with the proper safety education, he said freediving has minimal risks — and with the goal of sharing that knowledge, he’s become a pioneer in modern freediving education. Last month, Stepanek visited Molokai to offer a series of safety courses free of charge to local divers.

Having been raised in Czech Republic, a country without ocean access, didn’t dampen Stepanek’s passion for diving, and when he was 20 years old, he relocated to the U.S.…

When Plants Sweat

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

Understanding the concept of irrigation

We all do it. In mammals, the loss of fluid from the pores of the skin is called perspiration. In plants, it’s known as transpiration. Even the land circulates and loses moisture — a process called evaporation. Most people don’t think twice about how much plants sweat — but for farmers, especially those on Molokai where water is scarce — understanding plant transpiration can make all the difference.

Molokai has the highest recorded rate of evaporation in the state at 118 inches per year, according to Alton Arakaki, a University of Hawaii College of Tropical Agriculture and Humans Resources (CTAHR) Molokai extension agent.…

The Poop Scoop

Wednesday, October 30th, 2013

What happens after you flush

You flush your toilet an average of five times per day, but have you ever wondered what happens once it leaves the porcelain throne? By the time it reaches the end of the sewer line and completes a lengthy purifying process, not only is your wastewater cleaner than it started, but one more thing is clear. The wastewater facility workers who sort through the thick of it, surface with this message: If you think you can dispose of your strangest unmentionables down the drain, you’re wrong.

“There are no secrets. If you flush it down the toilet, we see it,” said Guy Joao, an operator at the Kaunakakai Wastewater Reclamation Facility.…

Water Conservation and Irrigation Workshop

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

UH CTAHR Molokai Extension News Release

There aren’t too many things in Hawaii we measure in the billions.  The size of the state’s economy is about $67 billion, the volcano at the Hawaii Volcano National Park produces about 6.4 billion cubic feet of lava per day and the 100-acre Molokai Irrigation System reservoir has a storage capacity of 1.2 billion gallons.  But if we want to see 50 percent of Molokai that is dry almost all year round to green up, it will require 389.6 billion gallons of water per year.  That is because Molokai has the highest recorded annual average pan evaporation rate in the state, at 118 inches per year according to historic data in DNLR reference “Pan Evaporation: State of Hawaii 1894-1983.”  Following Molokai, there are sites on Hawaii Island with 108 inches, Maui with 99 inches, Oahu and Kauai with 98 inches per year.…