Mahi Pono & Hui o Na Wai ‘Eha Reach Water Pact
Officials: Plan may create new chapter in ag history.
WAILUKU — Called an opportunity to change the course of agricultural history, an agreement among Mahi Pono, Hui o Na Wai ‘Eha and the Office of Hawaiian Affairs has been reached over the new company’s water commitments when it comes to using key Central Maui streams.
Among other terms in the agreement, Mahi Pono is requesting 11.22 million gallons per day to grow non-GMO food on 3,740 acres between Kuihelani and Maui Veterans highways — down from 36.29 mgd requested a decade ago by now defunct predecessor Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar Co.
A $250,000 investment on Mahi Pono’s part will install more in-stream, in-system and on-farm measuring equipment.
Also, the company emphasized that the surface water allocation is nontransferable and can be only used for ag purposes, “which hopefully lays to rest the unsubstantiated fear that Mahi Pono was going to use water for commercial real estate development,” said Shan Tsutsui, senior vice president of operations.
The new diversified agriculture company, which one year ago in December bought 41,000 acres of former sugar cane land from Alexander & Baldwin, presented terms of the deal Tuesday at a state Commission on Water Resources Management hearing in Wailuku.