Farmers Continue to Fight for Revocable Water Permits


On any given day farmers deal with their fair share of problems, but some say this one is unlike any other.


“Without some kind of legislative action, no more revocable permits will be given out, which means that in our case, East Kauai Water user Co-op in about eight months or so, we’re going to have to shut our system down,” East Kauai Water User Co-Op President Jerry Ornellas said.


That’s how these farmers interpret the current law, others disagree.


“It is our position that there is no need to pass House Bill 1326, House Draft 2,” Sierra Club President Marti Townsend.

According to lawmakers one things for certain no one quite knows what’ll happen when the revocable permits held by farmers and ranchers across the state expire in June.

The Governor’s office said they will not be renewed.


While not everyone believes that, the Hawaii Farm Bureau says many farmers aren’t taking the “glass half full approach.”


“Without the permits at the end of this year, we can no longer legally take water. So it will affect several hundred farmers on Kaua’i, Maui, and the Big Island. We’re all impacted by this,” Hawaii Farm Bureau Kau rancher Randy Cabral.

After meeting with the Governor Friday, these farmers went door to door trying to urge senators to reconsider a water rights bill that’s currently been shelved.


“I think it’s to impress on them how really important this is and how as farmers and ranchers it really impacts us on a personal level. Farming is a long-term proposition. We need assurances that water will be available,” East Kauai User Co-Op Farmer Jerry Ornellas said.

KITV Article:


The Governor could use an emergency proclamation or call the Legislature into special session after the current session ends.


While some farmers want the bill to pass, other farmers say they’d rather nothing be done.

“The reality is that they aren’t affected. The statute reverts to its original 2015 status once the Act 126 expires. The small water users can continue to divert water as they had before using these temporary permits,” Sierra Club President Marti Townsend said.


KITV Article:

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