Maui News

Maui Mayor Voices Support of Water Holdover Permits

April 8, 2019, 3:45 PM HST
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East Maui waterfall near Hanawi Ditch. PC: file Hawai’i DLNR.

Maui Mayor Michael Victorino today submitted a letter to state Senate leaders in favor of House Bill 1326.

He said the measure not only provides legal access to a vitally important source of surface water for Upcountry Maui, but that it would help realize the dream of revitalized diversified agriculture in Central Maui.

The bill, if passed, would allow for ten consecutive one-year holdovers of water permits under section 171-58(c), HRS. It would also makes conforming amendments to the reporting requirement in Act 126 (2016); and extends the repeal and reenactment provision for Act 126 (2016) by seven years, from June 30, 2019 to June 30, 2026.

“We all want our central valley to remain open and beautiful,” Mayor Victorino wrote in a letter to Senate President Ronald Kouchi and members of the Senate. “The closure of the Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co. plantation meant the loss of hundreds of jobs that supported local families and businesses.

Revitalized agriculture gives our economy another leg to stand on, and it could provide hundreds of good-paying jobs to give our people a future in which they can live at home, pay their bills and invest in the future.”

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“We need sustainable agriculture and food security so that Hawaiʻi customers can shop local and buy produce right here on Maui, farmed by their friends and neighbors,” he said. “Maui should not be left high and dry by getting carved out of legislation for ongoing revocable water leases. Again, we need access to a reliable source of East Maui water, especially in times of drought.”

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