Monsanto seeks to add backup Oahu water source

In November, the state water commission will consider allowing Monsanto to develop an emergency water source.

Currently, Monsanto is allowed to use up to 2.636 million gallons per day of stream water from the Waiahole Ditch for corn seed-growing activities. Monsanto acquired those water rights from Campbell Estate in 2007.

In May, Monsanto applied to the State Commission on Water Resources Management to add rights for an additional 2.636 million gallons per day of fresh underground water from a new well in Waipahu-Waiawa, as a back-up in the case of failure of its Waiahole water source.

According to water commission documents, the Board of Water Supply raised concerns about Monsanto’s application, saying that the Board is “concerned that [the] duplicate water uses permit for 2.636 mgd backup source (even if not pumped) reduces the available allocation for other future uses.”

At the August 15 commission meeting, the state recommended that Monsanto be allowed to construct a pump and well, but that no additional water be allocated. According to official records of the discussion, Monsanto attorney (and former deputy director of the water commission) Yvonne Izu said that “the staff recommendation is unacceptable to Monsanto,” and that the commission has the power to make the allocation to her client to protect against emergencies.

The commission did not make a decision on the Monsanto application in August. The item will be on the agenda for the commission’s upcoming meeting on November 21.

Corrected to clarify that the Monsanto permit application is for a backup water source, not a doubling of their daily yield.