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Planning for Molokai’s Water Resources

By Catherine Cluett Pactol | Editor

Water map courtesy of County of Maui.

A plan is being developed to analyze Molokai’s water resources and project how future water needs will be met. Public mana’o is currently being gathered on this important topic and planners are asking the community to share their voice. 

State of Hawaii Water Code requires each county to develop a Water Use and Development Plan, and Maui County is developing separate plans for Molokai, Lanai, and Maui to better address the unique needs of each island. The goal of Molokai’s plan is to provide a balance between the preservation and management of the island’s water resources, and sustainable ground and surface water use and development to service present users and future generations, according to planners. 

Townscape, Inc., the consultant to the County’s Department of Water Supply to develop the plan, has been doing outreach on Molokai. Last week, pop-up events were conducted around the island to share information and gather mana’o. Earlier this year, Townscape held two virtual community meetings. 

“The goal of the planning process is to formulate a plan with holistic land and water resources understanding through a community-based planning and partnership process, respect Native Hawaiian culture, traditions and practices; comply with the requirements of the State Water Code; and provide for sustainable ground and

surface water use and development to serve present users and future generations.

Planning objectives will be defined based on public input, the Molokai Community Plan and the Statewide Framework for Updating the Hawaii Water Plan,” according to a Townscape press release. 

Townscape Community Planner Lillie Makaila said during last week’s pop-up events, they gave out more than 120 copies of a survey with prepare postage to interested residents. 

“Folks have come through, with some who were aware of the plan and the pop-up and some who hadn’t heard about it yet,” she said. “We are currently seeking more community sentiment about water resources, both for the water systems folks rely on to supply their homes, farms and businesses and also regarding water in its natural state — streams and springs and more. We’d like to know about what folks would like to see in a plan for their water resources for the next 20 years. The survey will help us in writing the plan and incorporating community values into the Water Plan.”

Makaila said planners are currently working on a preliminary draft of the Water Plan, which she described as a “robust outline.” 

“We’d like to have that preliminary draft available to the community to review this summer,” she said. “Comments and feedback on the preliminary draft will help us to know if we are going in the right direction for this plan and help us to focus our planning efforts.”

Makaila added they plan to come back to Molokai for more outreach one the draft is prepared and available to the community for review and comments. 

“We’d like to extend our mahalo to the management and owners for all five of the locations who graciously allowed us to set up on their property for the pop-ups,” she said. “Mahalo to the Chow ‘Ohana for allowing us to have a tent, table and chairs for the pop-ups. Many thanks to the folks who stopped in to talk story and to those who have been sharing about these pop-ups with their friends and family. There is a lot more work to be done and many, many more people to hear from.”

If you missed the pop-ups last week and would like to complete the survey, you can fill it out online at linktr.ee/molokaiwaterplan. Visit waterresources.mauicounty.gov/205/Molokai-Island-Water-Use-and-Development for more information about the planning process. Contact Makaila at lillie@townscapeinc.com or call (808) 550-3893 with questions.


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