Water and ag panel discussion Monday

LIHUE — Water and agriculture have been identified by members of the Kauai Planning and Action Alliance as top issues impacting Kauai and its future.

Both will be addressed during a panel discussion Monday as part of the KPAA’s fall membership meeting.

“The State of Water & Agriculture on Kauai” begins at 2 p.m. at Kauai Community College.

Two panels of guest speakers have been invited to address the topics, offer their visions, challenges to overcome, initiatives and suggestions for what actions are needed, according to a release for the event.

Diane Zachary, president and CEO of KPAA, said the event will help ensure members have a better understanding of the complexity of the issues.

The guest panelists on water will be Adam Asquith of the University of Hawaii SeaGrant Extension, Dr. Carl Berg of the Surfrider Foundation Kauai Chapter and David Craddick, manager of the Kauai Department of Water.

Panelists confirmed to speak on agriculture are George Costa, director of the county Office of Economic Development, and Ray Maki, owner and operator of Permaculture Kauai.

Every few years, KPAA members identify and select issues that the organization should focus on for the next few years, according to Zachary.

“That’s how our current goals related to park improvements, support for education and sustainability were developed,” she wrote in an email.

In the spring, KPAA surveyed its members and the general public, asking where it could be of assistance. Three issues rose to the top, according to Zachary.

“The condition of our county and state parks continues to be a priority and goal for KPAA,” she wrote. “Water and agriculture were identified as the two other top priorities.”

Suggestions received by KPAA for improving agriculture on Kauai included making land available for and supporting development of small, sustainable enterprises, as well as improving access to healthy foods. For water, suggestions included restoring the health of Kauai’s reefs, preventing runoff and sand migration, considering the impacts of climate change on rainfall and water supply, and encouraging water conservation, according to Zachary.

KPAA is a nonprofit organization that has been serving Kauai for the past decade by fostering dialogue and taking action on difficult issues facing the island, in partnership with volunteers serving on committees and action teams, according to the release.  

Mondays discussion is from 2 to 5 p.m. in KCC’s OCET Building, Room 106C/D. Pre-registration is required for the free event. Contact KPAA at 632-2005 or kpaa-info@kauainetwork.org.

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