STAND. COM. REP. NO. 1464

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: H.B. No. 1536

H.D. 2

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Twenty-Ninth State Legislature

Regular Session of 2017

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committees on Judiciary and Labor and Ways and Means, to which was referred H.B. No. 1536, H.D. 2, entitled:

 

"A BILL FOR AN ACT RELATING TO IRRIGATION,"

 

beg leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to:

 

(1) Clarify that the Board of Agriculture has the power to acquire property by eminent domain for the construction and maintenance of water facilities that convey, distribute, and transmit water for agricultural uses that are in addition to irrigation, but not allow eminent domain for purposes of domestic use; and

 

(2) Amend the definition of "public utility" in chapter 269, Hawaii Revised Statutes, to exclude:

 

(A) Any person who controls, operates, or manages plants or facilities developed for conveying, distributing, and transmitting non-potable water, and any irrigation project established pursuant to chapter 167, Hawaii Revised Statutes; and

 

(B) Any board of water supply that manages, controls, and operates the waterworks of a county for the purpose of supplying water to the public in that county.

 

Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Agriculture, City and County of Honolulu Board of Water Supply, County of Kauai Department of Water, Land Use Research Foundation of Hawaii, Hawaii Farm Bureau, Maui Chamber of Commerce, Maui County Farm Bureau, East Kauai Water Users' Cooperative, Kalepa Koalition, Saiva Siddhanta Church, and three individuals. Your Committees received testimony in opposition to this measure from the Sierra Club of Hawaii and one individual. Your Committees received comments on this measure from the Public Utilities Commission, Department of Commerce and Consumer Affairs Division of Consumer Advocacy, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs.

 

Your Committees find that there are many non-potable water systems across the State that provide non-potable water for agricultural purposes. There is concern that Public Utilities Commission regulations intended for privately owned utilities may be applied to state-owned agricultural irrigation systems overseen by the State's Commission on Water Resource Management. Your Committees find that this measure clarifies state law in alignment with policies currently followed by the Department of Agriculture and Public Utilities Commission.

 

Your Committees have amended this measure by:

 

(1) Clarifying that any irrigation project operated pursuant to chapter 167, Hawaii Revised Statutes, is excluded from the definition of "public utility";

 

(2) Removing proposed language that would have excluded any board of water supply that manages, controls, and operates the waterworks of a county for the purpose of supplying water to the public in that county from the definition of "public utility"; and

 

(3) Inserting an effective date of January 7, 2059, to encourage further discussion.

 

As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Judiciary and Labor and Ways and Means that are attached to this report, your Committees are in accord with the intent and purpose of H.B. No. 1536, H.D. 2, as amended herein, and recommend that it pass Third Reading in the form attached hereto as H.B. No. 1536, H.D. 2, S.D. 1.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Judiciary and Labor and Ways and Means,

 

________________________________

JILL N. TOKUDA, Chair

 

________________________________

GILBERT S.C. KEITH-AGARAN, Chair