Comments on East Maui Water Lease, Draft EIS Due by Nov. 7

October 7, 2019, 12:29 PM HST · Updated October 8, 11:47 AM
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Alexander & Baldwin Inc. and its East Maui Irrigation Company, Limited subsidiary have filed a Draft Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed lease of water in the East Maui areas of Nāhiku, Keʻanae, Honomanū, and Huelo.

The proposed action constitutes the issuance of a long-term, 30-year Water Lease from the Board of Land and Natural Resources and is being prepared pursuant to the Board of Land and Natural Resources’ 2016 order to A&B and EMI to proceed with preparation of an EIS.

If approved, the lessee would be granted the “right, privilege, and authority to enter and go upon” the license area for the “purpose of developing, diverting, transporting, and using government owned waters” through the existing East Maui Irrigation Company, LLC “EMI” aqueduct system.

According to the Draft EIS document, the lease would allow for the continued operation of the EMI aqueduct system to deliver water to the Maui Department of Water Supply for domestic and agricultural water needs in Upcountry Maui. This includes the agricultural users at the Kula Agricultural Park and the planned 262-acre Kula Agricultural Park expansion, as well as for the Nāhiku community, which, through the County of Maui Department of Water Supply, draws up 20,000 to 45,000 gallons per day (dependent on weather), directly from the EMI Aqueduct System.

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The applicant notes that the lease would also allow the continued provision of water to approximately 30,000 acres of agricultural lands (formerly in sugarcane) in Central Maui.

A statutory 45-day public review and comment period has begun and continues through the beginning of November with comments due by Nov. 7, 2019.

Those submitting comments should send them to the approving agency (Board of Land and Natural Resources, State of Hawaiʻi, Mr. Ian Hirokawa, (808) 587-0400, [email protected], 1151 Punchbowl Street, Honolulu, HI 96813) and copy the applicant and the consultant (Wilson Okamoto Corporation; 1907 S. Beretania Street, Suite 400, Honolulu, HI 96826, Mr. Earl Matsukawa, AICP, (808) 946‐2277, [email protected]).

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