World Environment Community Health Animals Celebrity Submit A Site Find A Charity
Flows restored to Waimea River and “Grand Canyon of the Pacific


9 days ago   Article ID# 4131213
Original URL



SAN FRANCISCO, CALIFORNIA (earthjustice.org) - Today, the State of Hawaiʻi’s Commission on Water Resource Management approved a historic agreement that resolves a complaint Earthjustice filed in July 2013 on behalf of community group Pōʻai Wai Ola/West Kauaʻi Watershed Alliance to protect the “Grand Canyon of the Pacific” and restore stream flows to the Waimea River on Kauaʻi Island.

The agreement concludes a year-long mediation involving Pōʻai Wai Ola, the state-run Agribusiness Development Corporation, the Kekaha Agriculture Association, the Department of Hawaiian Homelands, and the Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative. Under the agreement, tens of millions of gallons of water each day will be restored to the Waimea River and its headwaters, and no diversion will ever be a total diversion again.

“Our group’s name acknowledges the life-giving power of water,” explained Pōʻai Wai Ola president Galen Kaohi. “Today’s agreement ensures that, for the first time in over 100 years, life-giving water will once again flow continuously in Waimea River from mauka (the mountains) to makai (the sea), which is vital for the health of the river and our community.”

Beginning in the early 1900s, the Kekaha Sugar Plantation built the Kekaha and Kōkeʻe ditch systems, which diverted much of the water flowing down the Waimea River and its tributaries to grow sugar.

When the plantation went out of business in 2001, the State of Hawaiʻi took over the ditch network. The Hawaiʻi Agribusiness Development Corporation leased the ditch network and lands to the Kekaha Agriculture Association. But, although the association was cultivating only a fraction of the previous plantation land, and growing much less water-intensive crops, the diversions remained at plantation-era levels, leaving vast stretches of dry stream bed in the Waimea River and headwater streams.

Proceedings before the Water Commission revealed that the association was diverting far more water than was needed for agriculture and, instead, was using this public trust resource to feed an antiquated hydropower system that helped subsidize its operations. And much of the water was simply wasted.

This agreement will end that waste and other useless diversions, with precious water promptly restored to re-establish continuous flows in the Waimea River and its headwaters. The agreement guarantees the minimum stream flows that are necessary for native stream life and traditional native Hawaiian practices and creates a framework to allow future, beneficial environmental and cultural projects. Under the agreement, the Kauaʻi Island Utility Cooperative can, for instance, move toward developing a modern hydropower project that will use solar power to pump water uphill during the day, releasing it to generate power at night, and will provide water and other infrastructure to facilitate native Hawaiian homesteading.

“For too long, private interests have been allowed to take the public’s water and use it to reap private profits,” said Earthjustice attorney David Henkin, who represents Pōʻai Wai Ola. “In approving this agreement, the Water Commission is carrying out its constitutional and statutory mandate to protect the public trust, ensuring that the mighty waters of the Waimea River will once again flow from the mountains to the sea, for the benefit of present and future generations.”

Copyright 2017 earthjustice.org   (Copyright Terms)
Updated 9 days ago   Article ID# 4131213

Earthjustice    Visit Website

More News

Trump's EPA considers reversal of limits on toxic air pollution

10 days ago From earthjustice.org 


'See you in court': activists ready for Trump to relax smog and drilling rules

19 days ago From theguardian.com 

LONDON, U K - ...

Conservation groups oppose effort to remove wolf protections in California

46 days ago From biologicaldiversity.org 


Conservation groups intervene to defend Washington state against coal exporter's lawsuit

53 days ago From earthjustice.org 


Earthjustice urges newly confirmed secretary Zinke to protect Bears Ears National Monument

59 days ago From earthjustice.org 


Go to page:   1    2  3  Next >> 

<< Return To Environment News

Action Center

CO2 levels just reached 410 ppm – the highest in millions of years

Action: Climate Change

Remember when carbon dioxide (CO2) levels in the atmosphere hit a terrifying 400 parts per million (ppm)? That’s number’s old ...

Save Florida's pine rocklands

Action: Wildlife Conservation

Pine rockland forests, which provide habitat for rare and imperiled species, are increasingly scarce in South Florida outside ...

Status of forests is 'dire' as world marks 2017 Earth Day

Action: Stop Deforestation

They cover a third of the world’s landmass, help to regulate the atmosphere, and offer shelter, sustenance and survival to mi ...

Nearly 40 million people live in UK areas with illegal air pollution

Action: Stop Pollution

Nearly 40 million people in the UK are living in areas where illegal levels of air pollution from diesel vehicles risk damagi ...

Plans to drill for oil near newly discovered Amazon Reef alarm scientists

Action: Save Our Oceans

This time last year, scientists announced the discovery of a reef system at the mouth of the Amazon River that they said is q ...

View All Actions >>





Follow Us


Find A Charity

Action Center




Twitter Support



Add A Site




Privacy Policy






Terms of Service

Copyright © The Charity Vault All rights reserved.