FACTS VS. MYTH: HB 1326
FACT: Kaʻu ranchers will continue to have access to water, and the permits they need to divert water, despite the outcome of HB 1326.
Kaʻu ranchers and other small farmers will return to the process they used prior to 2016 to divert water from state land. The court case that ruled to halt A&B’s access to revocable permits in no way impacts ranchers. These small farmers and ranchers also use very little water compared to A&B, Mahi Pono, and KIUC’s diversions.
MYTH: Ranchers in Kaʻu will be left with no water if HB 1326 does not pass.
FACT: Maui County will still be able to supply water to upcountry Maui, despite the outcome of HB 1326.
The 2016 court ruling against A&B specifically carves out Maui County’s water use to provide water to Upcountry residents. Additionally, only a small amount of the water that Maui County uses is on state land and therefore affected by HB 1326. This water flows through Waiola Ditch which is a permanent tunnel through the mountain and cannot be easily shut off.
MYTH: Upcountry Maui will lose its County water supply if HB 1326 does not pass.
FACT: The Central Maui lands that Mahi Pono recently bought from Alexander & Baldwin can produce 83 million gallons of water a day from 15 wells on this private land.
Mahi Pono has presented a preliminary farm plan to the public with scenarios based on various available water amounts. One of the plans anticipates using less than 23 million gallons of water a day—well within the water availability from their own Central Maui lands.
MYTH: Central Maui lands will become a wasteland, dustbowl of fallow agriculture lands if Mahi Pono does not get access to the requested 30 million gallons a day from public East Maui lands.
FACT: The hydropower plants at Waiahi produce only 1% of KIUC’s energy production.
KIUC diverts nearly all of Waiʻaleʻale and Waikoko Streams to supply its Waiahi hydropower plants. These two plants account for only 1% of KIUC’s overall energy production. This is no fair trade-off—especially because renewable energy is not a recognized public trust use of resources. KIUC should invest in newer, more advanced technology that returns the water to the stream of origin and uses less water to produce more energy.
MYTH: KIUC needs all of the water in Waiʻaleʻale and Waikoko streams to continue to supply renewable energy to Kauaʻi.