|Public Meeting: Lucienne De Naie
Save Honolua Coalition
Lucienne is a Huelo resident of 23 years. When she first moved to the small farming village, it was mainly populated with older Hawaiians and she had the opportunity to learn a lot about stream diversion, which led to her becoming a water/stream activist about 13 years ago. Out in the country, there is no county water and they depend entirely on rain or well water. She soon realized the importance of learning about water laws and the state water commission. She believes that citizens and farmers need to educate themselves about the state water laws. Stream flow is crucial to our interconnected ecosystem - our streams and aquifers are important to sustain life and need to be taken care of. The process to petition for stream flow can take a long time, but it is something that needs to be done if we are looking at the long term big picture of a healthy ecosystem and sustainable water supply. The process involves gathering people who use stream water, those with standing who qualify and assert their legal rights to water under state law. People who use water for farming, gathering hihiwai, watering kalo lo'i, recreational use, etc. can to get together with a good attorney who is ethically motivated, because these types of cases can be time consuming. Petitioners need to take time to build their case - why it is important to have stream flow. The hearing process may take months and petitioners often get involved to assist the attorneys.
Lucienne believes that although the process takes time, the more citizens who exercise their rights, the more familiar the water commission will be with the magnitude of the situation. Returning water to streams will benefit taro farmers, breathe life into the forests and fauna and help resurrect Maui's ailing fish populations and reefs. Stream diversion in Hawaii has been going on for over a hundred years and is one of the primary reasons for the loss of our traditional Hawaiian lifestyle. Without water, the traditional subsistence lifestyle that sustained native populations for thousands of years has become endangered and it will take a united community to help bring it back.
As I write this issue, Maui Land and Pineapple Co. is petitioning the water resource commission to create a permanent instream flow standard for Honolua stream, or in other words going through the formal process to determine how much water will flow in the stream and how much MLP can take for offstream uses including irrigation of pineapple, golf courses and Kapalua resort.
This is something that we the public need to get involved in and the Stream Restoration Committee of SHC can provide information. Look for upcoming details on our website, or email email@example.com.