Maui News

Maui Island Water Use and Development Plan Workshops

April 4, 2016, 4:06 PM HST
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Water meetings. Maui Now graphic.

Water meetings. Maui Now graphic.

The public is invited to attend hands-on workshops to identify and evaluate methods and scenarios to comprehensively manage, develop and use the water resources of Maui Island to meet the needs of all water users. The results of these regional workshops will assist the County in preparing the Maui Island Water Use and Development Plan.

The workshops are planned from April 23 to May 21, and will be held on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at the following dates and locations:

Upcountry April 23 Eddie Tam Memorial Center
Central/South April 30 Kahului Community Center
West May 7 Lahaina Civic Center
East May 21 Hāna Community Center-Helene Hall

Workshop participants are asked to review and provide input on: 1) regional issues and objectives used to evaluate water plan options and strategies; 2) draft water management, use and allocation guidelines; 3) options and scenarios to address water issues and create a comprehensive water plan; and 4) to test those scenarios for consistency with the planning objectives.

The first round of public meetings that are wrapping up in April provided input on water issues around the island. Key issues identified by the public included the following:

  • Each region should rely upon the water resources of that region instead of importing water. We need to adapt development to the availability of local water resources and climate.
  • Each region should bear its own costs of development, management and transport of water.
  • Watershed management should be a priority to support the forest which brings rain, water for lo’i and stream life, and flows to the ocean, which supports farming and fish. Active watershed management should be extended to lower elevations to enhance mauka-to-makai stream flow and support Native Hawaiian and kuleana uses.
  • The reduction in agriculture will reduce the need for stream diversions, which adversely affect natural aquifer recharge and mauka-to-makai ecosystems.
  • Agricultural water is needed to support local food production and security.
  • The prioritization of the water rights of Hawaiian Home Lands, Native Hawaiian cultural practitioners, and kuleana and appurtenant instream water users need to be recognized.
  • What are the costs and benefits of the County taking over the East Maui Irrigation system? The system reservoirs could be restored for storage of water for reforestation, firefighting, etc., but not for transport to other regions.
  • The water use and development plan should reflect values adopted in the community plans.

Meeting presentations, summaries and a short Questionnaire to gather more input are available online at


The WUDP drafted several years ago is being redone in an effort to include a more comprehensive inventory of all water users and systems on Maui and to focus more attention on our ground, surface and alternative water resources.


According to Hawaiʻi State law, each county is required to prepare, periodically update, and adopt by ordinance a WUDP to serve as the long-range planning blueprint for all uses of water in each county. In addition to these workshops, the public will also have opportunity to offer their input at all of the scheduled Maui County Council Water Resources Committee meetings.

The Department of Water Supply, Water Resources and Planning Division is hosting the meetings and can be reached at (808) 463-3110.

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