Protecting Stream Flows in Hawaii

The county of Maui approved an environmental impact statement for a new water treatment plant that short-changed both the citizens of the island and the wildlife that depend on the water.



Isaac Moriwake

Regional Office / Program

Case Overview

Earthjustice filed a lawsuit on behalf of Maui community groups Hui o Na Wai ‘Eha and Maui Tomorrow Foundation challenging plans by Alexander & Baldwin to build a water treatment plant that would take contested stream flows from several Na Wai ‘Eha streams, the “Four Great Waters” of Waihe’e River and Waiehu, ‘Iao, and Waikapu streams on Maui, so that A&B can supply the treated water to its development projects and also sell it to Maui County.

The proposal would redirect nine million gallons per day of diverted stream flows that A&B has claimed is essential for its Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar plantation and instead use it for A&B’s land and water development plans.

The lawsuit, filed in Hawai’i state court on Maui, sought to invalidate the environmental impact statement for A&B’s proposed “Wai’ale Treatment Facility” for its failures to examine any impacts on Na Wai ‘Eha water resources such as streams and aquifers, explore available alternatives to the project, or disclose any information on the proposed water deal with the county.

The EIS was an affront to the law, avoiding any meaningful analysis, or any mention at all, of the most critical issues of public interest and importance surrounding this project, and disregarding public comments on these issues.

The Waihe'e river on Maui.
The Waihe'e River on Maui. (Earthjustice Photo)

Case Updates

June 21, 2010 Press Release

Citizens Challenge Plantation Owner's Water Profiteering Plans

Plan fails to disclose environmental and economic impacts