Answers needed if public really owns water system

I was surprised when reading in a March 21 letter about the water rate increases by the Department of Water Supply, “The same logic applies to our public water system. We – the public – own this system. We depend on it and we are responsible for it.”

It is so refreshing to know we own the water system. The reservoir that is located in the ag fields, subjected to chemical exposure daily. I was under the impression that East Maui Irrigation owned the ditches over land it leased from Hawaiians for very little and sells the water to the county at a huge profit and the county then sells to the consumer.

I was also surprised that the letter writer is willing to raise the rates on the 10 percent consumer usage and not the ag users like Hawaiian Commercial & Sugar or Monsanto.

If this is the case and water rates can be increased on the end consumer, then I must hurry and apply for the East Maui designation for all surface streams so no water can be transported out of East Maui, according to state law as it reads at this moment. Then, perhaps, users in East Maui can use the water in their own area without it being diverted to other areas of the island and stay in the streams for less. It is against the law to send any water outside East Maui without the East Maui designation and any party participating in this is breaking the law.

Christina Hemming

Paia