Sunday, December 18, 2005

Citizens and Maui Mayor Agree to Restoration of Maui Streams

Settlement includes commitment to seek acquisition of plantation water systems

December 15th, 2005

Today, Earthjustice on behalf of two Maui community groups, Hui o Na Wai `Eha and Maui Meadows Homeowners Association, announced a groundbreaking resolution of litigation over ground water from the `Iao aquifer, the primary source of drinking water for the island of Maui. In return for the groups and the state Office of Hawaiian Affairs (“OHA”) withdrawing their legal challenges to the permit applications of the Maui County Department of Water Supply (“MDWS”) for water from the `Iao aquifer, Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa has committed to take the steps necessary to restore flows to streams overlying the aquifer that are currently diverted by former Maui plantation interests.

The streams to be restored under the settlement, also known as Na Wai `Eha (the four great waters), are currently the focus of related litigation by Earthjustice and Maui community groups seeking to set instream flow standards that would provide basic flows necessary to sustain public purposes such as ecological protection and Native Hawaiian taro farming. This restoration is intended as an interim measure only, pending resolution of the flow standards.

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