Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Musings: Cry Me a River

The latest bit of fear-mongering to hit Kauai involves water theft.

I'm talking about unfounded claims that the seed companies and other farmers and ranchers are "stealing" water from the streams, causing the waterfalls to run dry.

The so-called “public affairs” programmers at KKCR have been promulgating this agitprop for a while, because of course they're all hydrology experts now, and it feeds their anti-GMO agenda. 

Then today, The Garden Island weighed in with an article about how Secret (Uluwehi) Falls has dried to a trickle. And — gasp — that does not please the tourists.

Though the article includes a quote from the state correctly attributing the situation to drought, it gives more weight to the vague conspiracy theories spouted by Wailua River kayaking proprietor Will Leonard:

But Leonard said he’s not sold on the idea that the waterfall’s dry spell is the result of a drought.

Other river users have seen a tractor at the top of the falls as well as a pump system that appears to be diverting the water that ordinarily pools above the falls, Leonard said. Leonard hasn’t seen it himself, but he’s seen cellphone video footage of the purported pump.

“To me it’s a question of, is the water being diverted and does somebody have a right to do that,” Leonard said. “It was drier this winter than it was in the last month and a half, and the falls was good all winter.”

Here's that video, the so-called “smoking gun":
video
Uh, Earth to Will Leonard and the KKCR propagandists: Do you really think a 1.5-inch pump can dewater a stream?

Here's what's actually going on.

The rancher in question is using 600 gallons per week, whereas the average household in Hawaii uses 600 to 800 gallons per day. So there's no way he's having any impact on the falls.  

And don't you think it's better to pump water to cattle, than to have them drink directly from the ditch, where they can trample the banks and make doodoo?

Oh, and btw, there are no diversions taking water from the eastside to the seed fields. There is one diversion that moves water from Blue Hole down to Puhi, where it's run through a ditch for tourist tubing activities.

The tractor, meanwhile, is engaged in clearing albezzia and planting trees for the Green Energy project. Which is a good thing, because albezzia is destroying island watersheds.

If activists are so concerned about protecting Kauai's water, they could go out and clear some of that albezzia themselves and/or do other watershed restoration projects. But no, they'd rather bitch about non-existent water theft. 

Or in the case of KKCR Djs Kaiulani Edens and Donovan Cabebe, tacitly encourage people to engage in criminal property damage by destroying the pump. Uh, doesn't KKCR have any standards for its programmers?

Curious, to see yet another iteration of this unholy alliance between so-called environmentalists, Hawaiian independence activists and tourism, which has done more to co-opt the culture and harm the environment than other industry.

Anyway, since some of the kayak companies filed a complaint, guys from state parks and the Commission on Water Resource Management are coming out to take a look today — just as they did when drought dried up Uluwehi Falls in 2010.

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

two thumbs up to you, ms. joan!

Anonymous said...

i use to tune in to kkcr and contribute to their fundraiser, havnt tuned in for a few years xxxcept for the surf stories rarely, the people just got to junk for me.

Anonymous said...

I agree that the pump has nothing to do with the depleted waterfall. However there has been more than enough rain to bring the waterfall back. I've been guiding up there since I was 19, im 33 now. I understand how Rain affects the streams/rivers, I've seen it dry up before once and it flowed again right after a decent amount of rainfall. About a month ago it rained so much both the north and south fork of the wailua river flooded. North fork gauge showed it was flowing over 2,000 cubic feet per second and it stayed way above the normal threshold of 20-40 CFS. The waterfall still didn't come back, Makaleha has had multiple waterfalls everyday the past month as well. To say the ground is so saturated us sycked up all the water us nonsense, if that were the case then makaleha wouldn't be flowing either along with other smaller waterways. This morning the north fork gauge rose just below 900 CFS and im sure the waterfall isnt flowing yet. I've been up past the falls and seen the resivour and it has plenty of water "the state is saying it's dried up" a irrigation ditch has been filled in with dirt and debris, it leads to the stream from the resivour. Water is stagnant on both sides. For you to say sarcastically "they're all hydroligists now" is funny because to me it sounds like you know very little about rainfall, stream flow, ground saturation. Your article thoroughly proves you are one minded and just wanna complain on the wrong side of the fence line.

Manuahi said...

These ill-informed, agenda-driven activists are the same low-information voters who seek to elect our public officials like Gary Hooser. No wonder we've got problems!

Anonymous said...

people make money off of the natural resources Kauai provides. greedy is wanting more. using the crying technique... I not making a million as I was, now only 500,000. we have a lot of experts on Kauai be because they live here all their lives. no need to go to college to get educated just be more outspoken than the other person. selective hearing is for the special people that forget what is right from wrong. Kauai has a lot of special people.

Joan Conrow said...

You're right. I don't know much about hydrology and I've never claimed to. I just know AG isnt "stealing" it, as has been claimed. I'm not sure exactly what you're saying because your writing is so unclear, but no doubt guiding tourists on kayaks qualifies you to make hydrology pronouncements right along with the KKCR hacks.

Anonymous said...

33 and still can't spell for shit...lol

Anonymous said...

So….the people who are exploiting natural resources for personal financial gain are filing a complaint because those NATURAL RESOURCES THAT THEY USE FOR FREE are no longer stimulating their cash flow. Are you fucking kidding me? There are drought conditions all over the country, but no…it’s not that. Someone MUST be stealing water. You know, if people are so concerned about the diminishing water supply (as they should be) why not address the enormous wastefulness that comes from bottling and selling water? Where do you think all those millions of gallons of water come from?

Anonymous said...

hey 10:43, at least 9:46 took the time to write about his\her experiences. If you don't agree with that person's opinions, tell us why, and provide supporting evidence. Resorting to attacking their "spelling" is a cheap attempt to discredit an opposing viewpoint without actually doing so. A misspelled idea is still an idea.

Anonymous said...

Well Joan, I have to partially disagree with you.

When was the last time you went up to Sugi grove in Kokee? Kawaikoi stream used to run right through there and they over the cliffs to the Waimea Valley. No more. They have always had a rock wall that diverted the water to one of their many water divertment tunnels. The rock wall had plenty of holes and gaps that would let water pass and continue downstream, I would say roughly 50/50. Now they have gone up and cemented the rocks together, solid, so no water flows past the water divertment. Thats right the Kawaikoi river is DEAD below the tunnels. Nothing but stinking, green, stagnant water in places where we used to sit in cool flowing pools of crystal clear water (okay stained brown clear tanin water). I wish there was a way to post picture here as I have a dozen picture of what used to be the Kawaikoi stream now stagnant standing water. Pretty sad.

The same goes for many of the old water pipes and flumes. Over the past years the seed companies have made repairs to these pipe to ensure 100% of the water they divert makes it to their reservoirs, Before a good part of the water would leak out the pipes and back down the side of the cliffs back to its natural path of the Waimea River. All those leaks now repaired.

It has become a concern for many of the westside farmers and people that they recently had the State Water Commission of a tour to first hand see how the water is being diverted and wasted by the seed companies. They divert the water to their reservoirs, when the reservoirs are full they then dump the water into the kekaha ditch system where it is eventually pumped into the ocean and wasted.

http://islandbreath.blogspot.com/2015/04/kokee-kekaha-ditch-systems.html

Why dump and waste the water they don't need. Why not adjust the water flow to reach a equilibrium? Full reservoirs and a healthy happy stream that nature wanted. Because once they give up "using" they water they lose the right to it. Water is a commodity, i.e. $$$. You can bet they are trying to figure out a way to make money on that excess water they don't need, but are now in control of. Like maybe selling water to other small local farmers? Ask what happens when you get caught pumping water out of the ditch that is in your back yard, but they will gladly let you tap into their water pipes and sell you water at ag prices. Maybe a solar pump, hydo electric closed loop system? Not a totally bad thing, but they are taking a public resource away from the public and making money by selling it back to them, all while destroying a river and its wildlife and the life it gives to the people of Waimea.

I am all for diverting and using the water for ag projects and even hydro electric projects, but not at the cost of killing off its natural path and waterways. Use the water you need and let the rest flow naturally. In other words don't be a typical corporation and stop being GREEDY!!!

Opihi

Anonymous said...

This is beyond taking tourist to a waterfall, a whole ecosystem is being deminished and it has nothing to do with the lack of rain. Why you can't understand that Makaleha and other surrounding areas has sufficient amount of water and Uluwehi doesn't is beyond me. I'm stating what Ive learned growing up here and enjoying/sharing it with the visitors. Best part is I love what I do, I am educated when it comes to the weather patterns, stream flow, ground saturation because it's part of my job to do so, I am responsible for making the desicion to send people out and keep them safe, I have yet to send a tour out and have them get stuck up there "that's why i know more than you think about the above topic" it's a huge part of my job . Anyways to see an area drying up while the surrounding areas have wateflow is sad. If you think I am a unclear activist, you're completely wrong, I care about the land I grew up on and myself and many others are searching for answers other than "oh there's not enough rain". KIUC has diverted water way up loop road a while back, it was all over social media and to say it hasn't happened again is nonsense, it's happened in the past and will probably happen again, it could be a natural blockage further up. All the rain we've had and both the north fork and south fork has tons of water flowing "uluwehi all ways flows more when this happens" guess what it's just a trickle. Evidence is clearly there, you can't see that from behind you computer desk so I don't expect you to understand what I'm saying or trying to explain to you

Joan Conrow said...

A friend just texted from above Uluwehi and said the falls are running after last night's rain.

Anonymous said...

1:03 pm - who is the "they" you refer to as cementing the holes? Do you have proof of who "they" are?

Anonymous said...

oh my, KKCR spreading misinformation? again? snarkiness aside, KKCR doesn't need standards; it's community radio! quit'yer bitchin' and get a timeslot. there's room for you in the booth!

Anonymous said...

IRT 10:05 AM - Directly or indirectly, every single person who lives on Kauai "makes money off of the natural resources Kauai provides". So the cocktail; waitress and tourist boat-hand, the agricultural worker, the government employee...all their salaries are derived because of Kauai's natural resources. So to point a finger at any one person or business is hypocritical unless they are destroying those resources like many of our fishermen and opihi & limu pickers.

Anonymous said...

uh huh suddenly gets media attention and even when it was raining before doesn't flow now it does. Joan come on, if you were on then other side of this issue you would be all over this but your handlers expect you to keep us all in line.

Anonymous said...

what a lot of people here now do not know is that the seed companies only use a small fraction of what the sugar companies used. Cane was a thirsty crop used lots of water especially when it was delivered to the fields by ditch. to get the most of what water was available, most of the sugar companies converted to drip irrigation which saved a lot of water from loss due to evaporation. So to blaming the seed companies for stealing or wasting water is ludicrous and downright uninformed. BUT it makes good story telling when you hate the seed companies and will do & say anything against them; true or false.

Joan Conrow said...

Oh, yes, and I made it rain, too, just to cover up the theft.

Anonymous said...

Water becoming more valuable than gold
April 24 NEW YORK
Something that many might take for granted is becoming highly coveted: water.
In fact, water has become more precious than gold.
Over the past 10 years the S&P 500 Global Water index has outperformed the bellwether gold and energy indices.

n fact, water outperformed the stock market in the same period.

While the planet Earth is primarily covered in water, only 2.5% of it is fresh, and only a portion of that is drinkable. In fact, many global agencies now say human kind is in a water crisis.
The World Economic Forum names it as the number three global risk of 2014.
U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has warned that, "over 780 million people today do not have access to improved sources of drinking water, especially in Africa."

The corporate world has weighed in as well. The chairman of Nestle, the world's largest food company, says that water is, "a human right." Of course, Nestle also sells 63 brands of water around the planet.
Wall Street has taken notice of companies tackling the issue of supplying clean water and many are fast becoming the darlings of the investing world.
H20 is a $600 billion business, but it will grow to a $1 trillion by over the next six years according to a research report by Bank of America Merrill Lynch which cites dozens of companies that it thinks should benefit from water related themes and have global exposure to the water business.
The report breaks the global water market into four distinct categories. For water treatment the list includes firms like Stericycle (SRCL). For water management, companies like Monsanto (MON) fit the bill. When it comes to water infrastructure & supply the list includes companies like American Water Works (AWK). The final group contains water-friendly energy companies that provide wind, solar and geothermal opportunities like NRG Energy (NRG).
Related: China's soil pollution: It's much worse than you think
But besides the problem of generating enough clean water, the water crisis also raises some scary potential scenarios.
One is the idea that water will cause global conflicts in the future. Since water, food, and agriculture are so closely tied together, the idea of "water wars" erupting in Africa, the Middle East and Asia is seen as a real possibility by the Pacific Institute, a non-profit research group that studies resources worldwide, as nations rush to secure fresh water for their populations.
And don't think that it's only a third world problem. The U.S. Department of State has already mentioned water risk as a threat to national security.
By Patrick M. Sheridan April 24, 2014 14:49PM EDT


Anonymous said...

Welp, first off, Mr Leonard is a good guy. Honest and caring, just explaining what is up with his kayaks business. Leave Will alone, just a father and hard worker, who has sinewed his way thru the BS that the State and County make all businesses go thru.

Secret Falls has run fast and nil for decades. A simple gate. An overflow from the other valley.
The guys in their boats, kayaks etc. are under a hard thumb by the State and tho' I am jealous of the big bucks they can make, any one who can deal with the Government on these issues deserves respect. The government is the entity that sucks the life blood out of us all. Whether by taxes, regulations or permits...1 out of every 5 people on the island work for the Gov...and each one sits on the big pension, high salary and all they do is boss you around. What a life.
ALL F*cking water outside of the rivers is because some great men a hundred years or so ago, wanted to grow sh*t. So they made all of hanawai ditches, tunnels, water bridges etc.
On the Eastside...the State DLNR owns most ditches, Good luck. Not a one is kept open. The cows and guinea grass have choked or trod down many flows. Weeds, cows erosion...and not a DLNR worker to keep them running. The DLNR has let a legacy of Water and Agriculture, literally run down the drain.
On the South and Westside, thank God All Mighty, the hanawai ditches were retained with G&R, GF and A&B. These folks know how to keep the water flowing, they made the ditches and tunnels, and f*ck anyone, especially the State, County and Whiny dumbshits that complain about "water diversion".
Oh by the way, to Da Hoos, JoAnn and others, the hanawai man, hoehana man and sabedong man are the heros. They know more about water than all of your "form based, bike path, Mike Dahlig Ass kissing consultants could even dream of. The rubber boots on the ground and the engineers in the office...all water, outside the rivers and streams come from them.
Holy Rubber Boats Batman, can't we get to basics? Can't we let the businesses be free? Can't we let the Kayaks, Cattlemen and Sunshine Shell Hoale agitators work their own BS out amongst each other? Can't we let the Big Fistee types and the hard rain, hydroelectric power concrete, JoAnn Yukimura soft husband Wehreim types get together and challenge each other on "what do we do with the water?" and who really deserves control of it today?" Christ between us, there are easier ways.
The big bucks come from the tourist, the employment comes from the tourist, the County/State/ Fed all rely on the tourist and all the welfare people rely on the tourist. Taxes and Reveenuu, without the tourist we would be like the Marshall Islands. An island of Guvahmint cheese, spam and off brand Pampers.
Love the tourist, question the government and respect the big land owner.
Signed-just another rich haole know it all. The water will always flow downhill, only the government tinks dey can make it go up.
By the way Ms Joan, your blog can bring the best out of us. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

2:21-- Just because it was all over social media doesn't mean it's true!!!

Makaleha and Uluwehi are totally different systems. Just because one has water doesn't mean the other will.

Anonymous said...

All water is under the eye, ever since the 100 year event and 40 full days of rain flooded one man's illegal reservoir and destroyed another man's illegal dwellings. And the illegal reservoir killed the residents of the illegal dwellings and Kauai will forever suffer.
Instead of two men admitting their actions created the horror and setting the record straight, we have the State of Hawaii and Kauai afraid of all water. The reservoirs are being decommissioned and the ditches stay go.
The sorrow of death is unfathomable. But some where there must be some balance...the eastside and northside waterways are forever impacted. The County mishandled this sorry event, no one has accepted the reality of 2 men doing bad things and the island will suffer.
We need leaders or else all NS and eastside farming is dead forever. The control of water is gone.

Dawson said...


4:17 PM said...

Joan come on, if you were on then other side of this issue you would be all over this but your handlers expect you to keep us all in line.

The notion that Joan Conrow has "handlers" is an oxymoron.

(Oxymoron: the secret gas in jet chemtrails that flaccidifies brains.)

Anonymous said...

Water more valuable than gold, huh? If that's true, then the free market will put investment dollars into industrial salt-to-fresh water conversion and mankind will buy it. But then, the eco-activists will say it's not natural and it must have chemicals that are harmful and cause autism in our children. But I believe that ultimately science will figure things out (because no one else is) and that even with the fringy Luddites, who hate technological answers to problems, acting to kill it, mankind will be able to produce enough water for the productive countries to survive just fine and the people made rich by these technologies will contribute billions to solve the problem for the struggling nations....if they can only quit killing each other.

Anonymous said...

I also saw the drastic change in water patterns by Sugi Grove but I cannot say who or which company cemented that diversion.

The CrayCrayCR types are useful. The do identity problems. They get it totally wrong and defame people along the way but after they convince the usual 50 people that the sky is falling and assign arbitrary blame to some bad guy du jour, the real critical thinkers sometimes take notice and take over. And these people with jobs and some power often figure out what is really wrong and begin to examine what might be done within the framework of laws and property rights to fix things. The chicken littles are like the burglar alarm that goes off too much. One begins to ignore it. I realized in reading the comments I have not given to KKCR in a few years either. Its like some kind of a smug hate germ has taken hold there.

1:03 sounds very knowledgeable and I would urge those in power to inspect these diversions and particularly look at if it has killed Kawaikoi stream. If those reports of standing stinking water where a stream used to be are confirmed, it is very serious situation and could run afoul of wetlands protections or endangered species laws. If something other than shrill blaming and wailing into microphones is to be done, this demands rigorous and immediate data gathering more than it demands chopping the head off some farmer with a big garden hose. On something as important as the loss of an ecosystem on Kauai, it is important that this is properly evaluated in short order.

It was about 3 years ago that the waterfall down into Waimea canyon disappeared.It looked like a big water diversion at that time and it makes sense that maybe some company felt the need to protect its water rights. If this is true, there might be a legislative fix. But this loss of flow is certainly not due to the inch and a half pipe and tractor that the cray cray C R personalities have jumped to blame.

All that said, it is a little suspicious that the flow has suddenly resumed. Same thing happened in Moloaa a few years back. Flow was back right after the media reported it. I used to ask "Who do you trust?" Now I know the answer is no one. Only verification matters, especially when it comes to politicians, industrialists and professional activists. Flip sides of the same coin. Professional liars.

Anonymous said...

Cry me a river, a river that overflows, overflows with love, with love that grows , that grows takes hold of, with intensity, with desire, intensity takes hold of , lift me ever higher.........

Anonymous said...

@6:40. "It is a little suspicious that the flow has suddenly resumed."

. It rained.

Anonymous said...

rain =s falls. no rain =s no falls. how sinister is that ????. creating plots involving diversions, pumps and tractors is more glamorous. thought kauai krybabies were limited to anti barkers, TVA operators, KHS haters, anti gmo-ers, anti dusters, anti ferry-ers. its a epidemic. kry, grumble, point finger, accuse, demand.

Anonymous said...

Joan you seemingly have "friends everywhere" who should be doing their jobs but are posting here and sending you sources of info that cannot be verified. You are so in the know. I am so jealous and scandalized. Didn't you tell them to open it up cud people were getting suspicious and had video and stuff. I am rolling laugh right now.

Joan Conrow said...

I'm not going to apologize for being well-informed or having a lot of contacts. That's my job as a reporter. I'm the one laughing, however, at the power you unduly subscribe to me. That's how people disempower themselves, you know. They give it to other people.

You make yourself look quite inane when you make comments about "how people were getting suspicious and had videos and stuff." How about investing in a rain gauge? Then you would know it rained 3 inches and the falls got water.

Must be tough living with such a paranoid world view.

Anonymous said...

8:12, You need to make some friends if you can- not likely here. Try sucking up to the folks at KKCRap.for another "rolling laugh". And you might take a gander at the USGS Hawaii water site when your tears of laughter clear up.

Manuahi said...

I love the reasoning! If you can't figure out why something bad is happening, then it must be the fault of people you hate. Now that completely makes sense!

Anonymous said...

wailua kayak operators should foot the bill for the fiasco they started. isn't there state law about this?

Anonymous said...

peace, harmony, happiness thru out the world!peace, harmony, happiness thru out the world!
peace, harmony, happiness thru out the world!peace, harmony, happiness thru out the world!
peace, harmony, happiness thru out the world!peace, harmony, happiness thru out the world!
peace, harmony, happiness thru out the world!

Anonymous said...

Manuahi you do it all the time.

Anonymous said...

So sad, but So damn true.

Anonymous said...

Aloha Joan,

This is Will Leonard. So you know we did witness a complete diversion with multiple witness's and pictures at the spot where the north fork and the first man made ditch can divert to south fork. When I gave that interview I was contacted by GI and had limited information at the time and told the reporter that. There was a large back hoe right near diversion. We witnessed the same thing during Tropic Thunder filming. In both cases we were told by an employee(ditch company and movie)that it was going on. We were told it was a drought than and now by the state. In between these two times we had a waterfall everyday and heavy flow a couple weeks before it stopped. The diversion is no longer up at blue hole as one of the kayak owners is a helicopter pilot. There is a lot more to this but I am not interested in throwing stones.