When is the next big flood?
Hawaii’s state-owned utility company, Maui Electric, has said it has a solution: using water from the Big Island to irrigate crops on its islands.
But Hawaii’s governor, David Ige, said Monday that the utility’s proposal would be a “disaster” for the state.
“We have to do something,” Ige said at a press conference.
“This is a serious issue that we have to deal with.”
Ige said Maui has been working with Hawaii Electric on its plan to convert all of the island’s water from rivers to aquifers.
The utility’s proposed strategy would bring more than 1 million acre-feet of water to the island of Oahu, bringing the island to a “critical water supply,” Iging said.
Maui Electric said in a statement that it has been “working closely with state and federal authorities” on the plan.
“We are currently finalizing a detailed plan to use water from both rivers and aquiferal sources on the Big Islands,” the utility said.
Ige told reporters in Honolulu Monday that Maui expects to be able to get a similar amount of water from its own rivers to its Big Island in the next two to three years.
“If you’re a farmer in Hawaii, you know how important water is,” Iges said.
“When you look at what’s happening in other parts of the world, you have to ask yourself, why can’t we get water from our own waterways?
And I think we can.”
The governor has also said that Mauis water plan will require the island be entirely shut down during major flooding events.
Ig has been pushing the state to reduce the amount of freshwater that is used for irrigation.
But the governor said Monday he does not see a need for that as Hawaii faces “a crisis in its water supply.”
Mauios water utility is part of the state-run utility, Hawaii Electric, which manages more than 60,000 customers on the island and about 200,000 residents.
The state is one of the largest consumers of Hawaii’s water.