Maui News

Upcountry Residents Urged to Reduce Water Use by 10%

September 18, 2014, 3:46 PM HST
* Updated September 18, 3:57 PM
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Upcountry, Maui water storage. File photo by Wendy Osher.

Upcountry, Maui water storage. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Maui Now Staff

The Maui Department of Water Supply today announced a request urging Upcountry residents to voluntarily cut back on their water usage by 10%.

The affected area includes Haʻikū, Makawao, Olinda, Hāliʻimaile, Pukalani, ʻŌmaʻopio/Pūlehu, Kula, Keōkea/Waiohuli, ʻUlupalakua, and Kanaio.

“We are requesting customers to reduce water usage by 10% for the next two to three months until the rains restore water levels in the reservoirs. Normally, daily average usage is about 6.9 MGD; however, the average demand for the past week has been 8.3 MGD. This is high,” said Director of Water Supply Dave Taylor in a department press release statement.

As a precautionary measure, the department announced that it will shut down the Olinda Water Treatment Facility on Monday, Sept. 22, 2014.

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As of this morning, department officials reported that the 30 million gallon Waikamoi Reservoir was empty, and the 100 MG Kahakapao Reservoir was at 32.8 MG. In addition, levels at the Wailoa Ditch, which is the source for the Kamʻole WTF, were less than 15% of the maximum flow for the past week.

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In the interim, department officials say the Kamʻole WTF in Hāliʻimaile, the Piʻiholo WTF in Makawao, and the Poʻokela Well in Makawao will provide water for customers in Upper Kula, instead of the Olinda Facility.

By Wednesday, the department advises that Upper Kula customers may notice a change in taste or smell because the water coming from the lower elevations is disinfected with chlorine. The Olinda facility utilizes chloramines for disinfection, which does not have a chlorine smell. Department officials say the water meets all federal and state water quality standards.

While the facility is out of service, the DWS will be cleaning and relining the 8.5 million gallon basin at the Olinda site as part of a fiscal year 2015 capital improvement program.

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Upcountry businesses and residents are advised to check for leaks and conserve water until the winter rains can replenish the Upper Kula reservoirs.

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