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Rep. Gabbard opposes limited use of Keauhou Aquifer


Honolulu – Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard (HI-02) today wrote a letter to the Commission on Water Resource Management to oppose designating the Keauhou Aquifer System as a Water Management Area (WMA). Scientists monitoring the aquifer’s sustainability do not agree it meets the threshold for such a designation, which would limit the ability for surrounding communities to access water needed to expand affordable housing and other planned developments.

“There is no scientific evidence supporting the need for a designation, and numerous stakeholder organizations and individuals in the community strongly oppose it,” wrote Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard. “While we must always be cognizant of our use and preservation of natural resources, we cannot destabilize a community’s planned growth and access to water without clear scientific evidence that such action is necessary. I share the community’s concerns about the long-term impact that the designation of a Water Management Area for the Keauhou Aquifer System would have on the West Hawai‘i community.

“A Water Management Area designation is meant to protect the resource when there is a substantial risk of overuse or degradation of quality, and thus can rightfully lead to stringent restrictions on water use. However, West Hawai‘i has not met, or even come close to, this threshold. Hawai’i County must have the ability to continue with planned affordable housing projects and other resources to serve a growing community.”

The Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park has petitioned to designate the aquifer as a WMA. To trigger a WMA designation, 90 percent of the sustainable yield of the water source must be used. The current water usage is believed to be about 30 percent of the sustainable yield of the Keauhou Aquifer.

One Response to “Rep. Gabbard opposes limited use of Keauhou Aquifer”

  1. Miles Auwe says:

    Unfortunately the situation here is not about utilizing 90% of the available fresh water, it is about degradation of the water table. As more fresh water is drawn off the aquifer it is being replenished by salt water due to the extremely porous nature of the ground in that area. The salt water seeps into the aquifer at a rate that is several magnitudes faster than the fresh water. This particular aquifer will always contain water, though wither or not this water will be suitable for consumption without desalination is a genuine and legitimate concern.
    This situation has already occurred in Florida, where many families and farm are dependent on well water. Ms. Gabbard’s statements are (I assume deliberately) misleading, deceptive, and inaccurate.


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