To improve the Molokai Irrigation System, Senate Bill 1358, to allow the issuance of up to $3 million in general obligation bonds, passed the State Senate Monday on first reading.
The bill was then referred to the Senate Committee on Agriculture
and the Senate Committee on Water and Land, which will hold a public hearing on the issue tomorrow, Jan. 31, at 2:45 p.m. in conference room 229 of the State Capitol.
Sen. J. Kalani English, who represents Molokai and Lanai in the State Senate, was one of the senators who introduced this bill.
Testimony on this measure can be accepted up to 24 hours prior to the hearing. Click this link to submit testimony.
The bill states, in part: “Sufficient funding is needed to maintain and improve Hawaii’s irrigation systems. The increasing incidences of water droughts and the extended length of those droughts, particularly on Molokai, which is constantly plagued with drought conditions, makes repair and maintenance of irrigation systems necessary for agricultural production and food sustainability. The purpose of this Act is to provide additional funding needed for the Molokai irrigation system.”
The Molokai Chamber of Commerce is urging the public to support this bill. “With the passage of this measure to better utilize the capacity of the Molokai Irrigation System, the Molokai Agricultural Community will be able to increase production and directly benefit the local Molokai community,” Chamber President Rob Stephenson wrote.
“Agriculture is an essential part of the Molokai economy and for it to continue to be a sustainable economic engine we need to come together and support this and other measures that strengthen our Agricultural Community,” Stephenson continued.
This is part of a large ongoing effort to improve the MIS. In February of 2012, Governor Neil Abercrombie authorized $1,250,000 in state capital improvement project money to be spent on the MIS for planning, design and construction to replace an above-ground concrete flume with an underground pipeline, installation of a new hydropower plant and structural stabilization of an access bridge.