Local Connection: The Battle Over Water Rights

Local Connection: The Battle Over Water Rights
(Source: Hawaii News Now)

HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - A debate over water and how to decide who gets to use it is once again the most contentious issue at the state capitol.

The history of water in Hawaii is like the history of land. It’s about the destruction of the sustainable lifestyle of the Hawaiian people. So water rights are about way more than just water.

So that’s why the Ige administration should have treated it more seriously far before it turned into a divisive battle between environmentalists, farmers and Native Hawaiians.

Hawaii is in the process of reversing decades of damaging policies that diverted water from streams, some left completely dry.

Basically the worthwhile goal is to restore as much natural flow to streams as we can while also meeting the needs of farms, businesses and homes.

That’s not as easy as it sounds. But still, responsibility to develop a system falls squarely on the state government and the Ige administration still hasn’t come up with a process with time running out.

Both sides are making strong statements that the others claim are false, while the state seems content to let them fight it out.

This has been a pattern with the Ige administration and particularly the land department. Leadership is needed now to develop a transparent and fair way to share our most precious resource.

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