What is so important about Molokai’s water situation?

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

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.” …

Mana`e Moku Community Meeting

Saturday, October 19th, 2013

Community Contributed

By Walter Ritte, Aha Kiole Planning and Consultation

The second meeting regarding the Mana`e Watershed Plan, which calls for extensive fencing of our mountains from Kapualei to Halawa, will be held Friday, Oct. 25. The meeting will begin at 7 p.m. at Kilohana.

The first Mana`e Moku meeting was well-attended, and presentations were made explaining that the government and private landowners have formed a partnership to manage our mountains. A draft plan has been submitted and now community participation and input is needed.

The draft plan calls for the “improvement and protection of the existing watershed” in our mountains, relying on fencing as the primary solution.…

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.…