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Council wants to secure East Maui water leases sought by Alexander & Baldwin

Catherine Cruz

The Maui County Council wants to secure the long-term water leases for East Maui that are pending before the state Board of Land and Natural Resources.

Leases for the Nāhiku, Keʻanae, Honomanū and Huelo areas are also being pursued by East Maui Irrigation, which is jointly owned by Alexander and Baldwin, and agriculture venture Mahi Pono.

The council voted 8-1 on Jan. 7 to adopt a resolution urging Mayor Michael Victorino to seek an intergovernmental agreement that would let Maui County take over the proposed 30-year lease.

East Maui Councilmember Shane Sinenci, who introduced the resolution, says the county has the opportunity to manage the water as a public trust resource.

Sinenci says acquiring these leases will allow the county to support local farmers, food security and sustainable agriculture.

Kuʻuwehi Hiraishi is a general assignment reporter at Hawaiʻi Public Radio. Her commitment to her Native Hawaiian community and her fluency in ʻōlelo Hawaiʻi has led her to build a de facto ʻōiwi beat at the news station. Send your story ideas to her at khiraishi@hawaiipublicradio.org.
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