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View Diary: Maui's Dirty Little Secret (94 comments)

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  •  Hawai'i Constitution says (1+ / 0-)
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    mimi

    Water is a public trust with a hierarchy of users:

    All public natural resources are held in trust by the State for the benefit of the people...The State has an obligation to protect, control and regulate the use of Hawaii's water resources for the benefit of its people.

    The legislature shall provide for a water resources agency which, as provided by law, shall set overall water conservation, quality and use policies; define beneficial and reasonable uses; protect ground and surface water resources, watersheds and natural stream environments; establish criteria for water use priorities while assuring appurtenant rights and existing correlative and riparian uses and establish procedures for regulating all uses of Hawaii's water resources.  

    What this means is that the state Water Commission gives permits for wells, taking of water from streams etc.

    However, the infrastructure can be privately owned and that is how the plantations were able to grab about 90% of Maui's water supply.  Prior to this version of the constitution (when the public trust doctrine was added) A&B (HC&S parent company) built a system of waterways, weirs, tunnels, reservoirs and wells -- and even a huge underground cavern storing water above Pa'ia.  

    So they control the water because they own the infrastructure.

    The County of Maui could demand the water but to date no one has had the courage to do this because A&B controls the politics of this island and determines who gets elected.

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