A Maui County judge on Tuesday told Launiupoko Irrigation Co. that it needs to restore running water to families in Kauaula Valley after the private water company cut it off before the Easter weekend without notice, according to a news release from the plaintiffs’ attorney.

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On the morning of April 13, families in the valley discovered that their water supply had been cut off, leaving them without access to running water, according to the lawsuit. In response, the families sued Launiupoko Irrigation, which is supposed to provide water to people living on kuleana lands under a legal settlement that was reached almost two decades ago. 

“Like their ancestors before them, they use the life-giving waters of Kauaula Stream for their personal needs, for household purposes such as drinking, bathing, heating, cooking and sanitation, for kalo farming and for other traditional and customary practices,” the lawsuit says. 

Second Circuit Judge Kirstin Hamman issued a 10-day stay on Tuesday, telling Launiupoko Irrigation to restore water to the families while the case works its way through the court. 

In a separate but related meeting Tuesday, the state Commission On Water Resource Management said that kuleana users and farmers who rely on the Kauaula Stream should be able to get up to 300,000 gallons of water each day from the stream for the next 90 days while regulators sort out water supply issues.

 The court is holding a hearing on the case at 10 a.m. on Thursday.

Launiupoko Irrigation could not be reached for comment Tuesday.

Civil Beat’s coverage of Maui County is supported in part by a grant from the Nuestro Futuro Foundation.

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