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Raise price of water, restore watersheds

According to the Journal of Water, California water supplies and prices have dropped almost 300 percent per acre foot since the shortages of 2014-2015. An acre foot is 326,000 gallons of water.

2018 California Central Valley agricultural water prices were $373.16 / acre foot, which equals about $1.14/ KGal ($2.96/KGal in 2014 and 2015). Interestingly, the California agriculture water user (farmer) also pays an operations and maintenance fee of $76.84/A.F. This comes out to 24 cents in maintenance fees for the delivery of 1,000 gallons of water.

At the current state of Hawaii rate of $5/ MGD (1/2 cent per 1,000 gallons), we know from recent articles that Mahi Pono’s annual water cost for their permitted East Maui take of 45 million gallons per day is $225 X 365 = $82,125/year for the four license areas in East Maui covering 33,000 acres of former crown lands.

In California, 1 MGD (for agriculture) is costing about $1,140 plus $240 for delivery. In California, 45 MGD delivered would cost $62,100/day and $22,666,50 /year.

This means that all across the state, Hawaii is selling its water approximately 276 times cheaper than central valley California (minus delivery cost).

The question is, why should Hawaii (and drought-stricken Maui) sell our water to foreign corporations so cheaply? Hawaii needs to raise the price of water, restore the watersheds, and empower locally owned companies and their hana wai to manage the watersheds and deliver water to our local companies and their beneficiaries (us). Imua.

Simon Russell

Makawao