Maui News

A&B Seeks Renewal of Water Permit for East Maui Diversions

November 9, 2017, 9:46 AM HST
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Alexander & Baldwin goes before the state Land Board today to seek the renewal of a permit for the continued diversion of water on Maui in 2018.

East Maui Water. Maui Now file image.

The company who owns East Maui Irrigation and the now closed Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Company, wants to continue water diversions as they pursue diversified agriculture interests on former sugar cane lands.

A&B has conducted feedstock trials and explored costs associated with bioenergy crops. There’s also plans to cultivate pongamia on 250 acres and establish their Kūlōlio Ranch, a grass-fed cattle pasturing operation that is situated on approximately 4,000 acres of former sugar lands in Central Maui.

Opponents say the diversion is affecting streams aquatic resources and cultural practices.  In rallying opposition, the Sierra Club of Hawaiʻi issued an email calling for action against further diversions calling A&B’s diversions “excessive” saying they practice harms communities downstream that struggle with sufficient water supplies for daily use, subsistence farming and traditional gathering practices.

The board may go into executive session in order to consult with attorneys on its powers, duties, privileges and liabilities.

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A&B is currently permitted to divert 80 million gallons of water daily. The company owns some 33,000 acres of former sugar cane lands.

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