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Hawaii News

Kuahiwi Ranch among public water users that face uphill battle to earn long-term leases

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(Video by Ronit Fahl / Special to the Star-Advertiser)
Kuahiwi Ranch is one of about a dozen water users, including Alexander & Baldwin, the electric utilities and farming operations throughout the state, that are facing an end-of-the-year deadline to convert state water permits into long-term leases -- or risk losing access to water.
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RONIT FAHL / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

Michelle Galimba cradled an orphaned calf Saturday on her family-owned Kuahiwi Ranch in Pahala on Hawaii island. The cattle ranch has until the end of the year to convert its state water permit into a longterm lease.

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RONIT FAHL / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

The Legislature is considering a bill that would give public water users like Kuahiwi Ranch another seven years to complete the lease process, but it is not certain to pass. House Bill 1326 has drawn criticism from environmentalists who take issue with water users such as Alexander & Baldwin who divert large amounts of stream water. Pictured are cattle on Kuahiwi Ranch.

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RONIT FAHL / SPECIAL TO THE STAR-ADVERTISER

Kuahiwi Ranch has a state revocable permit to access water. “I am worried about it if I did lose access,” said Michelle Galimba, pictured. “It is not just me, it’s a whole bunch of people out here who would be severely impacted. It’s people’s livelihoods.”