Alexander & Baldwin to restore East Maui taro streams

Alexander & Baldwin to restore East Maui taro streams

KAHULUI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Alexander & Baldwin announced on Wednesday that the company will permanently restore priority taro streams in East Maui.

Seven of the streams will be restored imediately with diversion gates fully opened while the rest will require some physical reconstruction.

The farmers complained that the company has been allowed to divert the water for too long without proper permits.

"So the timing is primarily tied to the fact that we just announced the cessation of the sugar business and we are in the midst of evaluating our future diversified agricultural businesses and needs," said Chris Benjamin, President and CEO of Alexander and Baldwin. "Through that process, we determined that it's very unlikely that we would ever need as much water as we needed before."

East Maui Water Rights Advocate, Mahealani Wendt believes Alexander and Baldwin shouldn't have had to make the announcement in the first place.

"I find that (the announcement) really offensive because it's not their decision," Wendt said. "A&B doesn't own the water. These are public trust resources. So they can't give us back anything."

A&B will now submit a letter to the State, informing it of the decision and asking for guidance in restoring the streams.

Copyright 2016 Hawaii News Now. All rights reserved.