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Kaua?i Utility Seeking Comment on Draft Environmental Assessment Covering Stream Diversion

Kaua?i's power utility is seeking public comment on its draft environmental assessment covering diverting stream water to run the Waiahi hydropower plants.

The Kaua?i Island Utility Cooperative submitted the assessment as part of its request for a long-term water lease for its Waiahi plants in East Kaua?i. They have been operating for nearly a century.

The application will allow the utility to continue using water from Wailua River North Fork and Waikoko Stream.

Some community members oppose the diversion, saying it impacts native wildlife and doesn’t provide enough water to share among residents.

David Bissell, KIUC president and CEO, said the utility has consulted with various state and federal agencies, conducted studies and reached out to the community since 2008. 

"We’re confident that through this environmental review process, we can address any remaining concerns of the community, and continue to be a responsible steward of our natural resources on Kaua?i,” he said. 

Bissell said in a news release that the lease application is at a important milestone. He said he hopes the public and other interested parties will review the draft assessment and comment by the Nov. 7 deadline.

Comments should be directed to Ian Hirokawa at the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, which wiill review the utility?s request. He can be reached at ian.c.hirokawa@hawaii.gov or via regular mail, 1151 Punchbowl St., Room 220, Honolulu, HI 96813.

More information is available on the KIUC website under the "Renewables" section.

2019 10 08 KA DEA Waiahi Hydropower Long Term Water Lease

Casey Harlow is an HPR reporter and occasionally fills in as local host of Morning Edition and All Things Considered. Contact him at charlow@hawaiipublicradio.org or on Twitter (@CaseyHarlow).
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