State agency opposes full Maui stream diversion


POSTED: Thursday, December 17, 2009

The state Division of Aquatic Resources and the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. argued yesterday against a staff recommendation from the state Commission on Water Resource Management to maintain most of East Maui's stream diversions.

Commission staff recommended keeping diversions at 18 out of 19 East Maui streams, which have been used for more than 100 years to provide water for sugar plantations on the Central Maui plains. However, the Division of Aquatic Resources recommended restoration for eight streams. The Native Hawaiian Legal Corp. asked commissioners to do more research before favoring the state's only remaining sugar plantation, Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.

“;They recommended not to do any water restoration except at Makipipi stream,”; said Camille Kalama, an attorney for the Native Hawaiian Legal Corp., which represents the interests of Na Moku Aupuni o Koolau Hui, a group of East Maui families and farms who compete with agricultural businesses for water.

Clients who live near other Maui streams—Waikamoi, Alo, Wahinepee, Puohokamoa, Haipuaena, Punalau-Kolea, Honomanu, Nuaailua, Ohia, West Wailuaiki, East Wailuaiki, Kopiliula, Puakaa, Waiohue, Paakea, Waiaaka, Kapaula and Hanawi—have been harmed by the diversions, Kalama said.

The commission, which listened to more than seven hours of testimony, plans to meet today for delilberations and a decision.