Dairy will make Kauai’s water woes worse

On Feb 17, TGI reported that Kauai faces a water shortage of about 10 million gallons per day in 2035. We won’t go to sleep one night and wake up in the morning with a 10 million gallon water shortage. The water shortage will start slowly and build up to a 10 million gallon shortage.

We can speed up the process and bring that day to fruition sooner than 2035. How? How about permitting a 2,000 cow dairy in Mahaulepu that uses over three million gallons of water per day. In addition to the three million gallons, the industrial dairy will need enough drinking water to wash the udders of 2,000 cows twice a day, fill their drinking troughs, wash down their milking machinery and wash down the 8,600 square feet of barn floor plus the 12,300 square feet of the cow yard multiple times a day. How many gallons of our water per day will it take to run this for-profit industrial dairy? It’s all about the water.

How about the millions of gallons of water in our aquifer that is located beneath the industrial dairy. Is it in danger of becoming contaminated rendering it undrinkable like what happened in Des Moines, Iowa? In the “Source Water Assessment Program” report for the county of Kauai page 4-1 reads, “Due to the high permeability of bedrock in many areas of Hawaii, infiltrating rainfall typically percolates directly into the basal aquifer”.

What does that mean for our drinking water after the rainfall hits the 286,000 pounds per day of cow manure left in the fields by the cows and owners of the dairy? The now contaminated rain will run off until it can percolate directly into our aquifer. If you would like to see for yourselves just how fractured our bedrock is, go look at the interior walls of the Cave Reserve by the dairy site in Mahaulepu. They give tours (cavereserve.org).

This same report for the county of Kauai Water Department on page 7 shows a table in which “confined animal feed” facilities are ranked the very highest in potential contaminating activities (PCA counts).

Wells that produce all of Poipu’s, and most of Koloa’s, drinking water are in Mahaulepu. Two of the well heads are within 750 feet of the field that the industrial dairy plans on dumping the sludge and manure particles from the bottom of their two effluent ponds. Their sludge will be dumped inside of the water capture zone for these wells per the Industrial dairy’s plan.

To whom does the 3 million gallons of water belong? Article 11 Section 7 of the Public Trust Doctrine states, “The State has an obligation to protect, control and regulate the use of Hawaii’s water resources for the benefit of its people.”

Now is the time to ask for our county and state officials for compliance with our Constitution’s mandate that all public officials preserve and protect the natural resources of the State for the people of Hawaii today and in the future. Ask your officials to protect our drinking water from disappearing and contamination by not allowing an industrial dairy at Mahaulepu. Our officials email addresses are listed on lrbhawaii.info

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Eileen Kechloian is a resident of Koloa.

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