On the Rise

Water Working Group nears report completion.

By Brandon Roberts

After lengthy discussion on the future of the Island’s water policy, the Molokai Water Working Group (MWWG) gave a hana hou to complete their initial water report revision at the April 30 meeting. All that remains is to approve and attach the group’s new recommendations for the finalized document due in June.

Creating a special management designation for surface water was a prevailing recommendation to ensure conservation of all Molokai waters. Currently, there is only a special management designation for underground water. The MWWG report will advise the State Commission on Water Resource Management, and eventually be implemented into the County General Plan.

The special management area label requires monitoring of all designated waters, gathering data and seasonal averages, and dispatching the precautionary principle; which requires planners to look at worst-case scenarios and up-to-date water data before making decisions.

The group said the 1996 report being updated focused on the demand for water rather than ensuring future supplies and locating new sources.

The MWWG discussed reclaimed water as a viable source worth tapping. Nancy McPherson, county planner, said the county should provide incentives to change people’s habits, like subsidizing or providing water catchment systems for residents.

Ed Misaki, director of the Nature Conservancy, said the sedimentation of the reef is due to the lack of forest up top; which he believes is disappearing because of invasive animals on the mountains like goats, deer, and pigs.

“We need to improve key watersheds by reducing animal numbers to enhance vegetation recovery,” Misaki said. Kamalo and Kawela are two crucial watershed areas that have been decimated by rampant animal appetites. Presently, these areas have animal reduction projects in a partnership with the Nature Conservancy and local hunters.

The MWWG will meet again on May 20 at 6 p.m. in the DHHL conference room at Kulana `Oiwi to put the finishing touches on the report.


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