The full House on Thursday voted to approve House Bill 2501 HD2 SD 2 CD1, the bill relating to water and holdover rights on Maui.
The bill allows Alexander & Baldwin Inc. to continue a previously authorized disposition of water rights for three years or until its pending application for water rights is resolved, whichever occurs sooner.
Opponents to the bill include the Sierra Club Hawaiʻi, the Native Hawaiian Legal Corporation, and some local kalo farmers who say they want a return of water to ALL streams that flow across ceded lands that are diverted for commercial enterprise.
Under the bill, lawmakers have secured additional staffing for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources—including a hydrologist and project development specialists for public land management for the disposition of water rights lease management and oversight—and committed $1.5 million for a broader study on streams statewide.
“In addition to HB2501, these funding initiatives will let us tackle the very complicated issue of water rights not just on Maui but throughout the state in a more comprehensive and sustainable way that will allow us to assess the use of drinking water, ranching, agriculture and power generation far into the future,” said House Speaker Joseph M. Souki of Maui.
House lawmakers say HB2501, HD2, SD2, CD1 provides the following:
- Three consecutive, one-year holdovers to be renewed annually;
- A requirement that the use of a holdover is consistent with the public trust doctrine;
- Annual reports submitted by the DLNR to the Legislature for 2017-2020;
- Current pending applications before the BLNR to be included in this act; and
- A repeal date of June 30, 2019.