Settlement Restores Water to Maui Streams

Apr 21, 2014

Credit Flickr / Marcia Berkowitz Maui Hawaii

Credit Flickr / Archey Pix

A decade–long Maui water dispute has been settled. Over the past 10 years, Native Hawaiian and conservation groups have been caught in a legal battle with Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company and Wailuku Water Company over how much water the companies should divert from Na Wai Eha, or The Four Great Waters. These include Iao, Waihee, Waiehu and Waikapu streams.

Historically, large amounts of water have been diverted from these streams to serve plantation agriculture. Now, Hawaii’s Commission on Water Resource Management has approved an agreement that would greatly reduce the amount of river water used by HC&S and Wailuku Water Company.

Isaac Moriwake is an attorney with Earthjustice. The advocacy group represents the Maui Tomorrow Foundation and Hui o Na Wai ‘Eha. Moriwake says the settlement is an important first step toward returning balance to these rivers and streams. 

Under the new agreement, companies will be required to restore roughly 25-million gallons of water a day total to all 4 streams. That’s about twice the amount of water the commission initially ordered restored in its 2010 decision.

The full settlement agreement is available to read here.