Fire renews Maui stream water rights tension in longtime conflict over sacred Hawaiian resource

By Jennifer Sinco Kelleher And Jae C. Hong THE ASSOCIATED PRESS LAHAINA, Hawaii (AP)- Shortly after the ignition of the deadliest U.S. wildfire in more than a century, a developer of land around a threatened Maui community urgently asked state officials for permission to divert water from streams to fight the growing inferno. West Maui Land Company, Inc. said it eventually received approval from the Hawaii commission that oversees water management, but suggested the state body didn’t act quickly enough and first directed the company to talk with a downstream taro farmer who relies on stream water, according to letters by a company executive obtained by The Associated Press and other news outlets. Community members, including Native Hawaiian farmers, say the water the developer wanted for its reservoirs would not…

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