What is so important about Molokai’s water situation?

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.…

MIS files for Emergency Drought Declaration

Sunday, March 25th, 2012

Despite heavy rains three weeks ago, Molokai farmers are concerned that the summer may bring continued drought and adverse effects for agriculture. That concern motivated Molokai Irrigation System (MIS) board members to vote in favor of an emergency drought declaration for Maui County, which could bring government assistance.

Department of Agriculture (DOA) officials have filed the request for Gov. Abercrombie’s approval, and expect a response within a month to six weeks, according to DOA Chairperson Russell Kokobun, via video chat at last week’s MIS meeting. If the governor does declare a state of emergency for Maui County, the agricultural community may be able to access low-interest emergency loans if funds are available, according to the DOA’s Randy Teruya.…

Effects of Rain and Drought

Thursday, March 15th, 2012

Community Contributed

By Glenn I. Teves, County Extension Agent, UH CTAHR

We’ve been in a drought for several years now. The dry winter into early spring was worrisome until last week’s storm brought welcome relief. But rains don’t always alleviate a dropping reservoir unless it arrives in moderate, not heavy amounts, and drops into Waikolu Valley. This storm resulted in heavy runoff and washed precious soil into the ocean. The water will be muddy until the dirt settles on the bottom and that’s not good. The drought had already left its mark.

Everything is connected. A less-than-average flow of artesian water percolating along the coast can adversely affect the fisheries habitat, resulting in a lower than average hatching of fingerlings or pua.…

Bracing for Drought: Molokai Irrigation System planning ahead

Monday, February 27th, 2012

With water levels in the Kualapu`u Reservoir reaching concerning levels and little seasonal rain in sight, members of the Molokai Irrigation System (MIS), which serves the bulk of the island’s agricultural and homestead users, are starting to prepare for the worst.

At this time last year, the reservoir held 18 feet of water. Currently, however, the water level is hovering around 10 feet.

Representatives of the six major commercial users of the MIS came to the MIS board meeting last week with some serious concerns: they want to begin preparations for a possible drought crisis in the coming months.

“We are extremely concerned about current reservoir levels and worried about extreme emergency conditions over summer,” said Ray Foster, general manager for Monsanto Molokai.…