THE SENATE

S.C.R. NO.

22

THIRTY-FIRST LEGISLATURE, 2021

S.D. 1

STATE OF HAWAII

 

 

 

 

 

SENATE CONCURRENT

RESOLUTION

 

 

ENCOURAGING THE BOARD OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES TO ENTER INTO A LONG-TERM WATER LEASE WITH WAIOLI VALLEY TARO HUI FOR TRADITIONAL LOI KALO CULTIVATION IN WAIOLI, KAUAI.

 

 


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

 

WHEREAS, the traditional practice of loi kalo (irrigated taro terraces) connecting flowing water to kalo (taro) fields has been thriving in Waioli Valley, Kauai since time immemorial and dates back to at least the fifteenth century; and

 

WHEREAS, Waioli Stream is one of only six streams throughout the Hawaiian archipelago 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 the native Hawaiian living culture while feeding the community and preparing the next generation to carry on this vital practice; and

 

WHEREAS, for over a century, the 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; and

 

WHEREAS, the unprecedented floods of 2018 destroyed the historic mānowai (traditional instream diversion structures) and severely damaged the auwai (irrigation ditch) in Waioli, thereby impacting water flow to ancient loi kalo; and

 

WHEREAS, the destruction of these mānowai and auwai and resulting decreased water flow to loi kalo have reduced the Waioli Valley Taro Hui's ability to restore its fields and feed its community; and

 

WHEREAS, on April 15, 2018, in response to the occurrence of a severe, sudden, and extraordinary event of heavy rains and flooding that caused damages, losses, and suffering of such character and magnitude to affect the health, welfare, and living conditions of a substantial number of persons, both the Governor and Mayor of Kauai County issued emergency proclamations proclaiming Kauai County to be a disaster area; and

 

WHEREAS, the Legislature appropriated funds for disaster recovery efforts in Kauai via Act 12, Session Laws of Hawaii 2018 (Act 12) and Act 35, Session Laws of Hawaii 2019 (Act 35) including the repair of the Waioli Valley Taro Hui's mānowai and auwai; and

 

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

 

WHEREAS, the Waioli Valley Taro Hui has worked closely with the State and Kauai County 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 the Waioli Valley Taro Hui to continue to utilize and maintain its traditional loi kalo irrigation system, including the mānowai and auwai; and

 

WHEREAS, this approval represents the first co-management model of natural and cultural terrestrial resources between a community group and the Board of Land and Natural Resources; and

 

WHEREAS, the Waioli Valley Taro Hui seeks to continue to steward this traditional system and practice through the modern legal system and pursue a long-term water lease from the Board of Land and Natural Resources; 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, groundwater recharge, and preserving native habitat for endangered and threatened water birds; and

 

WHEREAS, loi kalo cultivation advances food security and builds community and cultural resilience in the face of the rising costs of imported food for local families; and

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

WHEREAS, section 171-58(c), Hawaii Revised Statutes, requires users of state-regulated water to create a watershed management plan with the Department of Land and Natural Resources; conduct an environmental impact study; or environmental assessment; and apply for a lease; and

 

WHEREAS, an environmental assessment of the Waioli Valley Taro Hui's continued cultivation of loi kalo in a traditional manner is in progress and will be published for a public comment period; and

 

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

 

WHEREAS, the loi kalo cultivation in Waioli Valley uses water in a nonpolluting way; and

 

WHEREAS, 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, in November 2020, pursuant to section 171-58(e), Hawaii Revised Statutes, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands consulted with affected beneficiaries and did not request reservation of water from Waioli Stream; and

 

WHEREAS, a long-term water lease will help the Waioli Valley Taro Hui to 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 Senate of the Thirty-first Legislature of the State of Hawaii, Regular Session of 2021, the House of Representatives concurring, that the Board of Land and Natural Resources is encouraged to enter into a long-term water lease with the Waioli Valley Taro Hui for its existing use of water from Waioli Stream via direct negotiation upon the completion of the environmental review process outlined in chapter 343, Hawaii Revised Statutes; and

 

BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED that this body continues to support the traditional and customary practices of kalo cultivation by the Waioli Valley Taro Hui in Waioli, Kauai; and


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

Report Title:

Waioli Valley Taro Hui; Loi Kalo Cultivation; Long-Term Lease