Maui News

Final EIS for Proposed A&B Water Lease Available for Review

July 28, 2021, 8:54 AM HST
* Updated July 28, 10:59 PM
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Water diversion in East Maui, Hāna. Maui Now photo.

Alexander & Baldwin and East Maui Irrigation Company filed a Final Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed water lease for the Nāhiku, Keʻanae, Honomanū, and Huelo License Areas.

The document was filed on July 20 with both the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, Land Division and the State of Hawai‘i Environmental Review Program. 

The Board of Land and Natural Resources, has 30 days from the date of submission to issue a determination on the acceptability of the FEIS.

The Land Division anticipates the BLNR will consider whether to accept the FEIS at its August 13 meeting. Testimony can be submitted at that time and the agenda for the meeting will be posted on August 6. 

According to the FEIS document:

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“The Proposed Action constitutes the issuance of one long-term (30-year) Water Lease from the Board of Land and Natural Resources that authorizes the lessee the “right, privilege, and authority to enter and go upon” the License Area (defined as the approximately 33,000 acres of State-owned land that contains most of the East Maui Irrigation Aqueduct System and the streams diverted by the EMI Aqueduct System) for the “purpose of developing, diverting, transporting, and using government owned waters” through the existing EMI Aqueduct System which supplies water to domestic and agricultural water users.

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“The Water Lease, which will be awarded by public auction, will enable the lessee to enter upon lands owned by the State of Hawai‘i in order to maintain and repair existing access roads and trails used as part of the EMI Aqueduct System, and will allow for the continued operation of the EMI Aqueduct System. It will enable the continuation of conveyance of water to the County of Maui Department of Water Supply for domestic and agricultural water needs in Upcountry Maui, including the agricultural users at the County-owned Kula Agricultural Park and the County’s planned 262-acre KAP expansion.

“The Proposed Action will also ensure the continued delivery of water for the Nāhiku community, which, through the MDWS, draws water sourced directly from the EMI West Makapipi Tunnel 2 2 (Well No. 4806-07), a development tunnel located on EMI owned land directly adjacent to the Koolau Ditch. It will also allow the continued provision of water to approximately 30,000 acres of agricultural lands (formerly in sugarcane) in Central Maui for Mahi Pono’s diversified agricultural operations (which includes agriculture related industrial uses) through the Central Maui Field Irrigation System.”

Testimony can be submitted to the Land Board secretary via:

  • Fax:     808-587-0390 Attn: Board Members 
  • E-mail: [email protected] 
  • Mail:    Department of Land and Natural Resources, Attn: Board Members, 1151 Punchbowl Street, Room 130, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96813.
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