Petition filed to restore Kauai's Waimea River

WAIMEA, KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Native Hawaiians and environmentalists are fighting to restore one of the state's largest rivers.

A petition filed with the State Water Commission calls for the removal of the Waiahulu Dam from Waimea River in west Kauai.

Fifty million gallons of water every day are being diverted to what was originally the Kekaha sugar cane plantation. That plantation closed in 2001.

Environmentalists and native Hawaiians say the river needs to be restored so that native fish and shrimp can once again thrive in the heart of Waimea Canyon.

"The community has to stand up and remind this agency and these tenants that now that the plantation is gone, we don't just leave the hose on all the time. It's time to be responsible stewards of the water," said Isaac Moriwake, EarthJustice attorney.

A state agency called the Agribusiness Development Corporation is named in the petition. Its director told Hawaii News Now the complaint will be thoroughly reviewed, and that if any water is being wasted, the agency will take steps to correct it.

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