East Kauai's

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An Invitation to Join The East Kauai Water Users' Cooperative

The Cooperative Irrigation System is comprised of reservoirs, ditches, tunnels and flumes originally designed to irrigate 6,000 acres of cane land in the upper Kapaa area and 6,500 acres of State land adjacent to the North and South Forks of the Wailua River. This complex water distribution system includes Wailua and Upper Kapahi Reservoirs and 21 miles of ditches, flumes, tunnels and conduits. Qualified agricultural producers may enlist to draw water from the system, and any resident may enroll as an associate member to help preserve this valuable community asset.

On November 17, 2000, Amfac Company ceased farm operations on Kauai. One consequence of this was the potential shutting down of the irrigation system of reservoirs and ditches serving an area of approximately 6,000 acres above Kapaa, as well as the State lands adjacent to the North and South Forks of the Wailua River. At the request of Kauai County Farm Bureau, a community meeting was held November 15, 2000, and attended by approximately 80 residents. Following the unanimous expressed desire of the residents to preserve the system as integral to the area's rural nature, essential to farmers and an ecological necessity, a committee was formed to evaluate the system and explore means to take over its operation.

Wailua Reservoir, one of the State's largest, holds 242 million gallons.
Inset: 120 foot flume on one of the transmission lines to Upper Kapahi

Forming the Cooperative
'The committee conducted meetings for more than 700 man hours and undertook 200 man hours of field trips. As well, hundreds of hours went into private meetings, field trips and report preparation. The meetings included the major system users, representatives from the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, the Department of Agriculture, the Kauai Farm Bureau and others. This committee incorporated March 5, 2001, as the East Kauai Water Users' Cooperative. In January, 2002, the Board of Land and Natural Resources granted the Cooperative a Revocable Permit to operate the system. The Cooperative is now actively enrolling users.

Who Runs the Cooperative?
For its first year of operation, the Cooperative is run by the nine-person founding board of directors comprised of the major users on the system. Beginning in 2003, a new board will be elected at the annual meeting.

What it Means for You
Now the agricultural producers on each of the more than 300 parcels of land adjacent to the water system's conduits and reservoirs can enroll in the Cooperative and make use of the water. It is simple and inexpensive. The Cooperative is nonprofit. Each year the total cost of running the system is distributed among the users according to how much water they have signed up for. The system includes not only the man-made ditches, but also Konohiki and Kainahola streams and the stream which runs north of Kaapuni Road and along Apopo Road, all of which are used to transport the system's water. By enrolling in the Cooperative, users along the system can legally draw water from the system. It may also be possible for a prospective user not adjacent to a water supply conduit to make an arrangement with a neighbor to pipe water across to his lot.

Upper Kapahi serves ditches which flow through Kapaa and Kapahi.
Inset: ditch eight as it exits Upper Kapahi Reservoir

How Do I Sign Up?
To sign up, you'll need to fill out the Cooperative water commitment agreement. The agreement is made in million-gallon-per-year units, which is sufficient water to irrigate one acre of land. You declare how many acres you want to irrigate, and that determines how many million gallon units you sign up for. There are special rates for ranchers to draw water from the conduits for their cattle.

What Does it Cost?
The cost to you for water will depend upon the number of users signed up for the system. Each year at the annual meeting the voting members approve the following year's budget for the system's operation and maintenance. The amount charged per million-gallon unit is determined by dividing the total budget by the total number of units committed for that year. The first year's budget, approved in March, 2002, is available from the Coop. Fortunately, the State of Hawaii and the County of Kauai are assisting the Coop this year with subsidies. Subsidies are not guaranteed next year. The Cooperative is making efforts to see they are provided through the legislature. The Cooperative is working to make the system self-sufficient in five years.

Can Anyone Support the System?
Yes, you can enroll as an associate member, whether you are along the areas served or not. The minimum enrollment is the samečthe one-million-gallon-per-year. You can also offer an additional amount. The difference between associate and regular membership is that you wouldn't have voting rights at the annual meeting. To enroll as an associate member, use the Associate Member Agreement Form.

Board of Directors:
Jerry Ornellas, President
Kelly Gooding, Vice-President
Anthony Branco, Treasurer
Lincoln Ching, Secretary
Les Milnes
Alan Rietow
Dan Yamaguchi
Bill Hancock

East Kauai Water Users' Cooperative
P.O. Box 800
Kapaa, Hawaii 96746
Phone: 821-2948

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