State task force to address MIS problems related to drought conditions

| April 26, 2012 | 11 Comments

A state resolution adopted March 28 calls for the creation of a task force to consider a plan for the Molokai Irrigation System in the face of “dangerously low” levels of available agricultural water.

Kualapu'u Reservoir, one of the central agricultural reservoirs on Molokai, is at a dangerously low level.


House Concurrent Resolution 207, introduced by State Rep. Mele Carroll, was written in response to ongoing complaints by local farmers concerning the disrepair of the MIS. The MIS, operating under the state Department of Agriculture and constructed in 1957, has suffered from leaking pipes from its main source, Well 17, and other maintenance issues dating back many years.

Adding to these problems is the current drought. Reports show that the MIS storage levels are at 50 percent of their levels in 2011. HCR 208, which asks the DOA to address these problems and to improve the agricultural economy on Molokai, states that rainfall is at 10 percent of normal. The resolution also states that MIS users have operated under a 30 percent restriction for the past three years. As a result of these cutbacks, Molokai has lost 90 jobs and more than $2 million in revenue.

Testifying in favor of these two resolutions was Dave Gilliand of Mycogen, who said that, “the current summer forecast could cause further job restrictions and loss.”

Lynn DeCoite, a Molokai homestead farmer who was recently confirmed by the state Senate to the state Board of Agriculture, testified that, “throughout the years of farming, we have suffered cutbacks because of drought conditions. We can no longer continue on the course we are going.”

HCR 207 goes on to state that MIS water levels are “critically low,” estimated to be as low as 10 feet.
Representatives from Monsanto Molokai, Kumu Farms, Molokai Chamber of Commerce and the Hawaii Farm Bureau Federation also testified in support of these measures.

The task force will be made up of various chairpersons from the DOA, the Board of the Agribusiness Development Corporation, the Hawaiian Homes Commission, the Board of Education and the MIS Water Users Advisory Board. The task force will report its findings to the state legislature before it convenes in 2013.

HCR 208 seeks to improve the agricultural economy through several actions: Developing a three-year plan for additional irrigation water source development to meet existing MIS user demand within the various service areas; Providing an estimate of capital funding requirements to develop basal groundwater well sources; Develop necessary engineering data utilizing existing hydrological data; Seeking capital funding for project development; Seeking Commission on Water Resource Management water use permits or increases in existing permits within the known limitations of aquifer sustainable yields; and Considering that increased irrigation water sales have significant potential to pay back the amortized cost of the capital invested.

The DOA will be charged with submitting a report to the legislature with its findings and recommendations before it meets in 2013.

Category: Biotechnology and Monsanto, News, Sustainability

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  1. kalaniua ritte says:

    right on keep sucking water till there is none left….we dont need anew water source we need new regulations on these corprate greedy farmers{micogen,monsanto}.if they have to cut back than they have cut back.we shouldnt have to risk our drinking water just so monsantos share holders can make millions.remember molokai is a single source aquafier if you start pumping more water it affects evryone on the island.dont hurt the thousands of people on molokai who DONT WORK for monsanto or micogen.

    • molokainews says:

      Maybe this new task force will limit water use by Monsanto and Mycogen by enforcing the one-third non-homesteader rule for MIS.

      • kalaniua ritte says:

        this task force will be made up of monsanto/micogen workers or those who get $ from them.. just like the MIS board…i’ll put $ on it.

      • It is interesting all these comments. Questions:1. how many Homesteaders farm their land? 2.How much water do the homesteaders need to farm their 35-40 acres?3.How much water do non homesteaders use? 4.What crops do homesteaders and non homesteaders grow?

    • Hi, Do you have farming experience? Do you farm your homestead?Have any facts and figures on how much it cost to start a farming business? Got any suggestion what to grow on homestead farms?

      • molokainews says:

        You ask some good questions, Molokaiwahine. The MIS Water User Advisory Board keeps a lot of the data you are asking about. The state DOA keeps these stats as collected by MIS and other state agencies. One of the DOA’s central job is to promote homestead farming on Molokai. If you get these stats let me know what you find out and I’ll write a story about whether or not they are doing everything they can to promote agriculture on Molokai.

  2. RICK RICE says:

    WE NEED TO COLLECT MORE WATER WHEN IT IS RUNNING DURING THE RAINY SEASON & USE IT MORE WISELY. WE SHOULD BE USING THE WATER FOR OUR PLANTS,YARDS AND ANIMALS. THAT WAY WE DONT NEED TO FILTER IT & IT REDUCES THE DEMAND FROM THE AG SYSTEM. ALSO THE PLANTS GROWN SHOULD BE THOSE BEST SUITED TO AN ARID ENVIRONMENT, THUS NEEDING LESS WATER. IF WE HAD A LOW COST ENERGY SYSTEM (WIND DRIVEN)ON THE ISLAND, THEN WE COULD RECLAIM SEA WATER FOR POTABLE USE & CREATE A SEA SALT INDUSTRY

  3. steve says:

    note to editor-in-chief:

    check out how/where ‘molokaiwahine’ ‘s name resolves- pretty sure it’s a simple error on “her” part, but since we’re talkin’ spam (edible and otherwise) here…

    • molokainews says:

      I saw that her user name is connected to molokainews.com. I asked her about that and she didn’t know why.

      • steve says:

        i only mention it because not a day passes without my inbox being hit with at least one domain name sales pitch.

        while domaining in not new, i can imagine those involved look for any angle to flash their bait in front of koi.

        as i said, i imagine it was nothing more than a typing error on ‘da’wahine’s’ part.

        no harm done, but thought it was worth a look.

  4. Charles Ware says:

    Why with all the different types of water desalination, is Molokai not making plans to desalinate. Power you run to freeze water could be supplied by wind. No Maui power involved would be nice!

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