THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

148

TWENTY-EIGHTH LEGISLATURE, 2015

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

requesting the Department of Agriculture and Department of Land and Natural Resources to develop a plan to purchase the Kohala Ditch system in the District of North Kohala on the island of Hawaii.

 

 


     WHEREAS, the 22.5 mile Kohala Ditch, completed in 1906, is the lifeline for agriculture in North Kohala on the island of Hawaii; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Kohala Ditch passes over public and private lands; and

 

     WHEREAS, Kamehameha Schools owns the land at Honokane Nui that provides water to the Kohala Ditch system, which is owned and operated by the Morrison Grove Capital Investment Company; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Kohala Ditch is one of the last, if not the last, ditch not controlled by the State of Hawaii; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Kohala Ditch is a legacy project, essential to what Kohala has been, is today, and will be in the future; and

 

     WHEREAS, a 6.7 magnitude earthquake in Kiholo Bay on October 15, 2006, caused extensive damage to the Kohala Ditch system, with the most severely impacted sector being Flume No. 1 between Honokane Nui and the Niulii Well; and

 

     WHEREAS, the damage to the Kohala Ditch caused the flow of water to stop, which adversely impacted farmers, ranchers, businesses, the community, and the entire State; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Legislature appropriated $500,000 for emergency repairs and the United States Congress also appropriated $2,000,000 for general repairs of the Kohala Ditch irrigation system; and

 

     WHEREAS, the expenditure of state and federal appropriations were vital in restoring the Kohala Ditch, which became operational in late 2010 and has since served the public good, welfare, and economy; and

 

     WHEREAS, since its restoration, the Kohala Ditch has been periodically inoperative as a result of flash flooding that has caused ditch infrastructure failures, which have imposed water shortages on farmers, ranchers, businesses, and residents; and

 

     WHEREAS, thunderstorm conditions from December 21 to 22, 2014, generated heavy downpour that caused additional damage to the Kohala Ditch; and

 

     WHEREAS, Flume No. 10 sustained severe damage, including the washing away of the concrete pier that holds up the center of the flume, and the west side pier sustained damage when the center pier fell over, which has resulted in the partial collapse of the flume; and

 

     WHEREAS, other portions of the Kohala Ditch have sustained damage that impacts water usage and access; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Kohala Ditch is currently undergoing maintenance and recovery operations that may continue to cause interruption and hardship to farmers, ranchers, and residents through May 2015; and

 

     WHEREAS, repairing the Kohala Ditch has been and continues to be a major undertaking, and ensuring its long-term viability is an equally daunting task; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Kohala Ditch is more than just a historical artifact; it is critical to the future of sustainable diversified agriculture in Kohala; and

 

     WHEREAS, the Kohala Ditch system is a critical water source for local farmers and an important resource to the community of the island of Hawaii; and

 

     WHEREAS, investment in the management of the Kohala Ditch could provide better water resource distribution for the community of North Kohala; and

 

     WHEREAS, the State of Hawaii should assume a more active role in the maintenance of the Kohala Ditch system to ensure that Kohala Ditch users, including farmers, ranchers, businesses, and residents, have a major stakeholder to work with regarding the timely maintenance of and improvements to the Kohala Ditch infrastructure; now, therefore,

 

     BE IT RESOLVED by the Senate of the Twenty-eighth Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2015, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Department of Agriculture and Department of Land and Natural Resources are requested to develop a plan to purchase the entire Kohala Ditch system in the District of North Kohala on the island of Hawaii; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Agriculture and Department of Land and Natural Resources collaborate with appropriate private landowners, Kohala Ditch users, and the Kohala Ditch Foundation to determine the optimal management plan that will ensure the long-term management, viability, sustainability, and operation of the Kohala Ditch; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that the Department of Agriculture serve as the lead agency to determine the estimated cost of purchasing the Kohala Ditch and report its findings and recommendations, including any proposed legislation, to the Legislature no later than twenty days prior to the convening of the Regular Session of 2016; and

 

     BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Concurrent Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the Board of Agriculture, Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, and President of the Kohala Ditch Foundation Board of Directors.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

 

 

Report Title: 

DOA; ADC; DLNR; Kohala Ditch