On September 19, 2023, the Commission on Water Resource Management (CWRM) held its first meeting following Maui’s wildfires, the governor’s temporary suspension of the water code, and the controversial “redeployment” of CWRM’s Deputy Director Kaleo Manuel following an August 8, 2023 request by West Maui Land Co. to divert water from streams to fill the company’s reservoirs to fight the wildfires, which he did not immediately grant. NHLC submitted testimony and attended the meeting.

The meeting drew a large contingent of Maui residents in-person and online who passionately shared their concerns over the course of more than 10 hours. Their concerns included attempted water grabs and many demands for the reinstatement of Kaleo Manuel. Kaleo Manuel was commended by many for prioritizing community engagement, Native Hawaiian rights, and the State’s duty to the public trust.

With 75% of Maui Komohana’s freshwater resources controlled by private water companies, the rebuilding of Lāhainā requires careful attention to the allocation and management of its water resources.

The meeting materials can be found online here.

The meeting was recorded and can be watched on YouTube here.

NHLC’s testimony is accessible here: 9.19.23 NHLC CWRM testimony re West Maui.

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