Maui News


March 23, 2009, 2:35 PM HST
* Updated March 24, 10:01 AM
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The drought declaration for Upcountry Maui was lifted after being implemented 10 months ago.Water officials say both the Piiholo and Kahakapao Reservoirs are nearly full, while flows at Wailoa Ditch are more than 60% and the smaller Waikamoi facility was at 42% capacity.The cancellation applies to Upcountry Maui only.All customers in Central Maui are urged to continue a voluntary 10 percent reduction in water use.That includes customers in Kahului, Wailuku, Waihee, Maalaea, Paia, Kuau, Puunene, Kihei, Wailea and Makena.

On Thursday, March 19, 2009, the Board of Water Supply voted unanimously to recommend that the County of Maui Department of Water Supply (DWS) lift the declaration of drought for Upcountry Maui. Mayor Charmaine Tavares and DWS Director Jeffrey Eng supported the Board’s recommendations.

“This is good news for Upcountry residents and farmers,” said Mayor Tavares. “It’s a tough situation for any part of our island to endure such conditions and the community is to be commended for helping to reduce water usage during the drought period.Conserving water, even when not in drought conditions, is an important practice to maintain and we want to encourage everyone to continue their efforts in water conservation,” Tavares said.

The following conditions existed as of Friday morning, March 20, 2009:

  • Wailoa Ditch- Flows at the ditch this morning were at 122.0 million gallons per day (MGD), or 61.1 percent of capacity.
  • Piiholo Water Treatment Facility- The reservoir contained 49.8 million gallons (MG) or 99.6 percent of capacity. Piiholo facility production was 2.7 MG and provided water for the Makawao and Lower Kula systems.
  • Kamole Water Treatment Facility- Facility production was 0.0 MG for the previous 24-hour period. With the Piiholo Reservoir nearly full, the DWS has utilized the Piiholo facility to provide water to the lower elevations, saving on pumping costs.
  • Waikamoi and Kahakapao Reservoirs – The 30 MG Waikamoi Reservoirs are at 12.6 MG or 42.1 percent; the 100 MG Kahakapao reservoirs are at 96.9 percent.
  • Olinda Water Treatment Facility- Facility production was 1.0 MG.

Total water consumption (including groundwater sources) for all of Upcountry was 4.7 MG.


The drought for the Central system was declared on August 23, 2007 based on average daily water production of 28.3 MGD for the month of July 2007. DWS Director Eng targeted 25.5 MGD as the goal for production for the Central system. For the week of March 12 to 18, 2009, water production was at 19.07 MGD. Although the Central system has achieved the goal, Mayor Tavares and Director Eng supported the Board’s recommendation to maintain the voluntary reduction request in the interest of encouraging continued water conservation.


To achieve the requested 10 percent reduction in use, customers should check for leaks and reduce their watering schedule by a day or two. Free low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators and lead detection dye tablets are available through the Department of Water Supply’s Planning Division, located at the Hokama Building at 59 Kanoa Street in Wailuku.For more information on water conservation, or to request free fixtures, call 244-8550.

(Posted by Wendy OSHER © 2009)

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