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President's Message (Jacqueline Kido)
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LWV-Hawaii Proposed Budget 1996-1997
Viewpoint on Water (Martha Black)
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Viewpoint on Water

The Senate and the House Water and Land Use Committees have disregarded and neglected the right of the citizens of the City and County of Honolulu to hear and testify on the final report of the commission to review the Hawai`i state water code.

They have held hearings on the neighbor islands, but none on Oahu. Why are they reluctant to hear from O'ahu residents? It is imperative and constitutionally required that Oahu's people have the opportunity to hear and testify on this report. I am concerned that these committees will micro-manage the water code to death by amending it piecemeal.

The People's Water Conference has followed the conservation, preservation, and management of water ever since the last constitutional convention. When Article I l was written and submitted to the voters and subsequently approved, the constitutional mandate called for an overall water agency under which all water issues would be coordinated.

The water code has been fine-tuned within the provisions and limitations of the constitution. The original commission was representative of all segments of the community and Hawaii water interests. Numerous hearings were well attended and all of the issues that are now being considered were heard and decisions were made.

The constitution also called for a review commission to conduct a five-year review of the new code. The review commission was also representative of the community and water interests statewide; numerous statewide opportunities were provided for input and discussion. The commission, from the start, said that it wanted to address issues that were called for in the constitution but not yet addressed in the water code.

In its final report, the review com-mission has provided a hierarchy of uses in line with Article I1 of the constitution. There is no need for the legislature to micro-manage or revisit all of these issues. Any significant changes or revisions can be made by a statewide hearing of the commission's annual report.

The water code has always met with resistance because individuals think it is either too extensive or inadequate. The code we have has been considered a compromise by legal and professional water people and the public. It is time to stop all of this stalling. Let us have a hearing on the review commission's revisions and start implementing our legal state water code which was mandated by the voters in the constitution.

Martha Black

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