Lawai Stream is dying

… whose birth place is in the heart of Kahili Mountain on Kauai and has for thousands of years flowed freely, Mauka to Makai on an 8-plus mile journey to unite with the ocean at Lawai Kai. Giving life to all that it came across including the endangered Koloa Duck, Oopu, opai, and an untold amount of life in the Ahupuaa of Lawai and its near shore reef system. Also giving a refreshing mandatory balance to Lawai Valley’s Watershed. Sad to say, as of Feb. 6, gone are those days.

Now, where the two streams (Poeleele and Ice Pond) come together, all the natural flow has been dammed and diverted out of the stream and only given a minimum life support, fed through a small pipe; No longer able to fluctuate with nature’s life giving changes. Just so the corporation can water their golf course and have a members-only 20-acre fishing pond. Wrong, so very wrong!

You might say how can this happen when it clearly states in the Hawaii State Constitution “the water is held in a public trust for today and the future generations.” And, in the State Water Code 174C-2, “It is recognized that the waters of the State are held for the benefit of the citizens of the State. It is declared that the people of the State are beneficiaries and have a right to have the waters protected for their use.”

The State of Hawaii does have laws and regulations in place to protect our rights and natural resources. Department of Land & Natural Resources and the Commission of Water Resource Management, whose motto is “Kahuwai Pono,” and have lofty titles like Chief of Stream Protection & Management ,have betrayed the people’s trust.

With a blind eye and a deaf ear, the state has given a death sentence to Lawai Stream. Allowing the corporation to have total control of all the water that should be held in public trust, they are not monitored and are left unchecked to remove all the natural flow from Lawai Stream and out of Lawai Valley’s Watershed.

Shame on you officials in charge of protecting our most precious resources and what belongs to the citizens of Hawaii and for the disrespect of Kauai! Where is the accountability of these state employees who are in charge of protecting our island’s natural resources for today and for the future generations?

Ned Leone




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