HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES

H.R. NO.

139

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

 

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

HOUSE RESOLUTION

 

 

REQUESTING the Board of Land and Natural Resources to enter into a long-term water lease with Waioli Valley Taro Hui for THE HUI'S existing use of water from Waioli Stream via direct negotiation, upon completion of the ENVIRONMENTAL IMPACT STATEMENT PROCESS.

 

 

 


WHEREAS, this body supports the traditional and customary practice of kalo cultivation by Waioli Valley Taro Hui in Waioli, Kauai; and

 

WHEREAS, the unprecedented floods of 2018 destroyed the historic mānowai, the traditional instream diversion structure, and severely damaged the auwai, the irrigation ditch, in Waioli, Kauai, thereby impacting water flow to ancient loi kalo and reducing Waioli Valley Taro Hui's ability to restore its fields and feed its community; and

 

WHEREAS, in response to this devastation, the Governor and Mayor of the County of Kauai issued emergency proclamations and extensions to the proclamations, and the Legislature appropriated funds for disaster recovery efforts via Act 12, Session Laws of Hawaii 2018, and Act 35, Session Laws of Hawaii 2019, which included the County of Kauai's repair of Waioli Valley Taro Hui's mānowai and auwai; and

 

WHEREAS, during the disaster recovery and repair efforts, Waioli Valley Taro Hui was informed that its traditional loi kalo irrigation system, including the mānowai and auwai, was located on state conservation land; and

 

WHEREAS, Waioli Valley Taro Hui worked closely with the County of Kauai and the State to understand and pursue the appropriate entitlements and exemptions to ensure the long-term viability of loi kalo cultivation in a traditional manner in Waioli Valley; and

WHEREAS, the Board of Land and Natural Resources unanimously approved a perpetual easement for Waioli Valley Taro Hui to continue to use and maintain its traditional loi kalo irrigation system, including the mānowai and auwai, which represents the first co-management of natural and cultural terrestrial resources between a community group and the Board of Land and Natural Resources; and

 

WHEREAS, Waioli Valley Taro Hui seeks to continue to steward this traditional system and practice by pursuing a long-term water lease from the Board of Land and Natural Resources; and

 

WHEREAS, for Hawaii's people, culture, and resources, ola i ka wai, "water is life"; and

 

WHEREAS, the traditional cultural practice of loi kalo cultivation in Waioli Valley has fed Waioli Valley and neighboring ahupuaa for centuries: the kalo farmers of Waioli Valley Taro Hui have collaborated informally for over a century to steward and maintain Waioli Valley's natural resources, cultural lifeways, and community identity, which are reliant upon those resources; and

 

WHEREAS, the traditional loi kalo irrigation system is an indigenous surface water system that has been used since time immemorial and connects flowing water to kalo fields: Waioli's loi kalo have been thriving, dating to at least the fifteenth century; and

 

WHEREAS, Waioli Stream is one of only six streams throughout Hawaii pae āina that the Hawaii Stream Assessment identified as having traditionally supported more than fifty acres of kalo cultivation; and

 

WHEREAS, the water that flows through Waioli's ancient system is a lifeway that supports kalo cultivation traditions and perpetuates a living Native Hawaiian culture while feeding the community and preparing the next generation to carry on this vital practice; and

WHEREAS, loi kalo cultivation in Waioli Valley uses water in a nonpolluting way, and the water that flows through the loi kalo is nonconsumptive, as it is returned to the same watersheds of origin and recharges related ground and surface water sources, including Waioli Stream and Hanalei River; and

 

WHEREAS, loi kalo cultivation in a traditional manner continues to create opportunities for community-based cultural and agricultural education while providing vital environmental benefits, such as flood mitigation and groundwater recharge; preserving native habitat for endangered and threatened water birds; advancing food security; and building community and cultural resilience in the face of the rising costs of imported food; and

 

WHEREAS, continuation of loi kalo cultivation in Waioli Valley will not persevere without a long-term water lease from the Board of Land and Natural Resources; and

 

WHEREAS, Article XII, section 7, of the Hawaii State Constitution mandates the State to protect the traditional and customary rights of Native Hawaiians, such as those perpetuated by Waioli Valley Taro Hui members; and

 

WHEREAS, a water lease to Waioli Valley Taro Hui honors and supports appurtenant, riparian, and traditional and customary Native Hawaiian rights and practices; and

 

WHEREAS, pursuant to section 171-58, Hawaii Revised Statutes, which authorizes the disposition of water rights by lease at public auction, an environmental assessment of Waioli Valley Taro Hui's continued cultivation of loi kalo in a traditional manner is in progress and is about to be noticed for public hearing; and

 

WHEREAS, the Department of Land and Natural Resources Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands did not require a conservation district use permit given that the Hui's use is "existing" because it preceded the State and creation of conservation districts or related use permits; and

WHEREAS, pursuant to section 171-58(e), Hawaii Revised Statutes, Waioli Valley Taro Hui and Department of Land and Natural Resources staff jointly developed a watershed management plan, and pursuant to section 171-58(g), Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands consulted with the affected beneficiaries in November 2020, but did not request a reservation of water from Waioli Stream; and

 

WHEREAS, a long-term water lease will help Waioli Valley Taro Hui recover and thrive again after the 2018 floods and perpetuate loi kalo cultivation as its spiritual foundation, culture, and lifeway into the future: make nō ke kalo a ola i ka palili, "the taro may die, but lives on in the young plants that it produces"; now, therefore,

 

BE IT RESOLVED by the House of Representatives of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, that the Board of Land and Natural Resources is requested to enter into a long-term water lease with Waioli Valley Taro Hui for the Hui's existing use of water from Waioli Stream via direct negotiation, upon completion of the environmental impact statement process; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that certified copies of this Resolution be transmitted to the Chairperson of the Board of Land and Natural Resources, Mayor of the County of Kauai, and President of Waioli Valley Taro Hui.

 

 

 

 

OFFERED BY:

_____________________________

 

 

Report Title:

BLNR; Waioli Valley Taro Hui; Long-Term Water Lease