Moloaa Water Diversion

SUBHEAD: In old Hawaii taking water out of an ahpupuaa without permission was a capital crime.  

By Tim and Hope Kallai on 7 May 2009 for Malama Moloaa - (808) 828-6367

Image above: Still from movie "Chinatown". Jack Nicholas investigates mammoth California water diversion. From!

The County of Kauai has recently released a report Kilauea Irrigation Water Engineering Design and Monitoring Study – to respond to the changes as a result of the March 14 2006 failure of the alterations to Ka Loko Dam. The study can be downloaded at

The report considers three alternatives. Two of them involve the planning to use an unpermitted stream diversion from Kalua`a Stream carrying water meant for Moloa`a Stream. This diversion mysteriously appeared on Mary Lucas Land (note Pre-2001 alignment of historic Moloa`a ditch) and state land, in and near (TMK 5-1-2:3) the Moloa`a Forest Reserve (TMK 5-1-01) (see maps).

An estimated 11 million gallons per day have been diverted from Moloa`a valley at least since 2001 (by an extremely low estimate of 2 cfs).

That comes to 4,015 billion gallons-per-year of, unregulated, unreported, unpermitted export of water for private gain out-of-the-watershed from Moloa`a. As a result, Moloa`a stream went dry in 2007 and 2008 - for the first times ever. This stolen water is ditched overland to a diversion structure where it is sent underground - through state owned land (remediated in the Pila`a/Ka Loko case).

This water is then routed either into Ka Loko or Pila`a systems. This illegal flow is unmonitored, unregulated and this unpermitted system is un-engineered. Moreover, this system is uninsured. The study did not determine who controls the flow. We need an immediate investigation and removal of this unpermitted diversion of water... a Public Trust resource.

This diversion is a trespass on state land. Historically, Moloa`a Stream has been the only perennial stream between Anahola and Kilauea Streams. It is an important habitat for endangered water birds: `alae ula, `alae ke`oke`o, ae`o and koloa. 200 Moloa`a residents have no source of potable water from the county – homes are on private water wells.

 The groundwater table is dropping from the absence of stream flow. Nobody downstream is safe from future flood flows from this unengineered system. It must be removed immediately from state lands. Thank you for your prompt action.

Ssee also:
Island Breath: Moloaa Water not for sale 5/5/09
Island Breath: Moloaa & Waikomo Streams dry 8/19/07
Island Breath: Kaloko Dam Failure 3/16/06

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