Water in Hawai`i is a public trust resource, protected under the state Constitution and Water Code. Plantations diverted many Hawaiian streams to water sugar cane and pineapple fields, drying out and destroying the native life and Hawaiian communities connected with those streams. Now that plantations are in decline, the water can be restored to the native streams. Government agencies, including the Water Commission, have a duty to protect and restore ecological uses, traditional and customary Hawaiian practices, recreation, and scenic values. Hui o Na Wai `Eha and Maui Tomorrow, represented by Earthjustice, are working before the state Water Commission and in the courts to uphold the public trust, stop wasteful water diversions, and restore the Waihe`e, North & South Waiehu, `Iao, and Waikapu Streams, traditionally known as "Na Wai `Eha" or "The Four Great Waters" of Maui.
Maui Streams Flow Again
After years of essentially being drained dry and left for dead, two legendary streams on the Hawaiian island of Maui—Waihe'e River and Waiehu Stream—came back to life. Fresh clean water from West Maui's mountains is once again flowing to the sea, breathing life into the plants and animals along the way. (August 16, 2010)
Victory: Citizens And County Of Maui Settle Lawsuit Over Streamwater Treatment Plant
The County of Maui and Maui community groups Hui o Na Wai ‘Eha and Maui Tomorrow Foundation, Inc., represented by Earthjustice, announced the settlement of a lawsuit challenging the Environmental Impact Statement ("EIS") for a proposed water treatment plant that would take water from streams that are under dispute in an ongoing Maui water rights case. (July 21, 2010)
Central Maui Stream Restoration
Earthjustice petitioned the state Commission on Water Resource Management to establish instream flow standards that would sustain beneficial instream uses, such as ecological protection, Native Hawaiian practices, recreation, and scenic values in Central Maui. (July 6, 2010)
Returning the Water to Na Wai `Eha
A proposed decision by the Water Commissioner of Hawai`i would restore 34.5 million gallons a day to Na Wai `Eha, about half of the diverted flows. (January 29, 2010)
Settlement Will Help Restore Maui Streams
In December 2005, Earthjustice—on behalf of two Maui community groups, Hui o Na Wai `Eha and Maui Meadows Homeowners Association—announced a groundbreaking resolution of litigation over ground water from the `Iao aquifer. (August 31, 2006)
Water Writes is a series of 10 collaborative mural projects in 10 cities across the globe. The theme of water connects the participating communities and documents the current local and international water crisis. In 2011, Water Writes created a large mural at Honolulu Community College, chronicling the importance of restoring stream flow to Hawaiian communities. Learn more about the making of this mural.
In 2012, the Supreme Court of Hawaiʻi heard oral arguments on the ongoing battle to ensure that the waters of Nā Wai ʻEhā are available for traditional and customary Hawaiian practices. ʻŌiwi TV produced this video feature, featuring interviews with Isaac Moriwake, Kapua Sproat and clients on this case. This feature is presented in the Hawaiian language.
Kaulana Na Wai Eha ("Famous are the Four Streams") is the story of how millions of gallons of water are needlessly diverted and dumped, instead of being restored for public instream uses.
Part 1 Part 2 Part 3 Part 4