Water Commission to decide on remaining East Maui Stream Flow Standards

May 25, 2010, 7:00 AM HST · Updated May 25, 7:08 AM
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The State Commission on Water Resource Management will hold a meeting on Tuesday, May 25, in Pa‘ia, Maui, to hear public testimony and decide on a petition to amend the interim instream flow standards for 19 east Maui streams: Waikamoi, Alo, Wahinepe‘e, Puohokamoa, Haipua‘ena, Punalau, Honomanu, Nua‘ailua, ‘Ohi‘a, West Wailuaiki, East Wailuaiki, Kopili‘ula, Puaka‘a, Waiohue, Pa‘akea, Wai‘a‘aka, Kapa‘ula, Hanawi, and Makapipi.

File photo of Iao Stream in West Maui where stream diversions and water rights has also been the subject of Water Commission review. MauiNOW.com/W.Osher

The meeting is scheduled at 1 p.m. at the Pa‘ia Community Center, on the Hana Highway in Pa‘ia, Maui.

The Commission deferred action at its December 16-17, 2009 meeting, directed staff to collect additional data from key stakeholders, and come back to the Commission. This meeting is to hear recommendations incorporating the additional data.

The Commission has the responsibility of establishing instream flow standards to protect the public interest in streams statewide.

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Instream flow standards are essentially the amount of water required to flow in a stream for the protection of native fish and wildlife, traditional and customary practices, recreation, scenic views, and other beneficial stream values.  The Commission must also balance these instream uses with non-instream uses, such as water for drinking and home use, agriculture, cultivation of taro, and hydropower.

The streams under consideration have been used for more than 100 years to provide water for sugar in the central Maui plains.  More recently, surface water has also gone to upcountry Maui residents for domestic and agricultural use.

A little over one year ago, the Commission amended the instream flow standards for the hydrologic units of Honopou, Hanehoi, Pi‘ina‘au, Waiokamilo, and Wailuanui.  The Commission staff spent the last year implementing the standards, monitoring the release of water, and investigating stream conditions for these east Maui streams.

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