Maui County residents will decide if they want community water authorities

WAILUKU (HawaiiNewsNow) – Should Maui County Establish Community Water Authorities?

That’s what the locals will decide in this election. Ballots have already started to arrive in the mail.

Mary Ann “Kamalani” Pahukoa and her family have been battling water issues in East Maui for over a century.

“This is a historic opportunity for Maui County. I get emotional just thinking about how many kupuna drove us today,” said Pahukoa.

Voters will be asked if they want Maui County community water authorities with regional community boards to manage water collection and distribution systems.

Currently, the State Department of Lands and Natural Resources is responsible for Hawaii’s water. However, supporters of the charter amendment say the water has been mismanaged and believe that big business has had too much of a say in how water has been controlled, distributed and diverted.

“This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to fix, to remove this privatization and foreign control over our public resource – water,” Pahukoa said.

While the push has a lot of support, some are worried about what community water authorities will actually look like.

“What’s the cost? What’s it going to cost taxpayers? asked Maui County Councilwoman Yuki Lei Sugimura. “No one had answers.”

Sugimura represents Upcountry and doesn’t feel confident about the change as the details are still unclear.

“It’s a big deal,” Sugimura said. “In defending my residents, farmers and ranchers, I say they are the breadbasket. We have a lot of food that we provide to the community, and to have our water disrupted by something unknown, I think is really important.

There’s a “Water Is Life Educational Rally” at the University of Hawaii Maui College this Saturday, October 22, 2022 at 10 a.m. for those who want to learn more.

Comments are closed.