STAND. COM. REP. NO. 629

 

Honolulu, Hawaii

 

RE: S.C.R. No. 22

S.D. 1

 

 

 

Honorable Ronald D. Kouchi

President of the Senate

Thirty-First State Legislature

Regular Session of 2021

State of Hawaii

 

Sir:

 

Your Committees on Hawaiian Affairs and Water and Land, to which was referred S.C.R. No. 22 entitled:

 

"SENATE CONCURRENT RESOLUTION SUPPORTING THE WAIOLI VALLEY TARO HUI AND TRADITIONAL LOI KALO CULTIVATION IN WAIOLI, KAUAI,"

 

beg leave to report as follows:

 

The purpose and intent of this measure is to encourage the Board of Land and Natural Resources to enter into a long-term water lease with the Waioli Valley Taro Hui for traditional loi kalo cultivation in Waioli, Kauai.

 

Your Committees received testimony in support of this measure from the Department of Land and Natural Resources, Office of the Mayor of the County of Kauai, one member of the Kauai County Council, Waioli Valley Taro Hui, Hanalei Watershed Hui, The Waipā Foundation, National Tropical Botanical Garden, Sierra Club of Hawaii, Hawaii Land Trust, Hanalei Hawaiian Civic Club, Kīpuka Kuleana, and thirty individuals. Your Committees received comments on this measure from one individual.

 

Your Committees find that for over a century, kalo farmers of the Waioli Valley Taro Hui have collaborated informally to steward and maintain Waioli Valley's natural resources, cultural lifeways, and community identity reliant upon those resources. Destruction of the historic mānowai and auwai in Waioli during the unprecedented floods of 2018 resulted in decreased water flow to loi kalo, and hampered the Hui's ability to restore its fields and feed its community. Your Committees also find that as part of its disaster relief efforts, the Department of Land and Natural Resources informed the Waioli Valley Taro Hui that portions of the current kalo irrigation system are located on conservation land, thus requiring a water lease. Additionally, the Waioli Valley Taro Hui has applied for an easement for their irrigation system and a revocable permit for water use; completed consultation with the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands on a draft Watershed Plan; is working with the Commission on Water Resource Management on an interim instream flow standard assessment; and is consulting with others on the preparation of a draft environmental assessment in compliance with chapter 343, Hawaii Revised Statues. In summary, the Waioli Valley Taro Hui has been working diligently to continue to maintain and perpetuate their land and its finite natural and cultural resources.

 

However, your Committees further find that subjecting the Waioli Valley Taro Hui to competition at a public auction for a water lease is concerning, due to their limited financial resources. Allowing the Hui to negotiate directly with the Board of Land and Natural Resources for this water lease phase would promote the Hui's continued traditional practice of loi kalo, and expand community-based cultural and agricultural education. Protections provided by article XI, sections 1 and 7, and article XII, section 7, of the Hawaii State Constitution; chapter 174C, Hawaii Revised Statutes; and decisions from the Hawaii Supreme Court, such as In the Matter of the Water Use Permit Applications, Petitions for Interim Instream Flow Standard Amendments, and Petitions for Water Reservations for the Waiāhole Ditch Combined Contested Case Hearing, 9 P.3d 409 (2000), grant special protection and respect to traditional in-watershed cultivation of kalo, like the ones conducted by the Waioli Valley Taro Hui.

 

Your Committees have amended this measure by:

 

(1) Amending its title to better reflect its purpose; and

 

(2) Making technical, nonsubstantive amendments for the purposes of clarity and consistency.

 

As affirmed by the records of votes of the members of your Committees on Hawaiian Affairs and Water and Land that are attached to this report, your Committees concur with the intent and purpose of S.C.R. No. 22, as amended herein, and recommend its adoption in the form attached hereto as S.C.R. No. 22, S.D. 1.

 

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the members of the Committees on Hawaiian Affairs and Water and Land,

 

________________________________

LORRAINE R. INOUYE, Chair

 

________________________________

MAILE S.L. SHIMABUKURO, Chair