Water levels at Upper Kula reservoirs near empty
Drought conditions upcountry have resulted in near empty conditions at the Upper Kula reservoirs. According to the Maui Department of Water Supply, the 30 MG (million gallon ) Waikamoi Reservoir is empty and the 100 MG Kahakapao Reservoir is less than 26% full.
The water department plans to reduce production at the Olinda Water Treatment facility because of the low water levels and utilize water from the lower elevations instead.
The change means water for the Upper Kula area will come from the Kamole WTF in Haliimaile, the Piiholo WTF in Makawao, and the Po’okela Well in Makawao. The Olinda facility will only produce enough water to provide for customers in the Olinda area. Normal production is approximately 1.3 MGD. Production will be reduced to approximately 0.1 MGD (100,000 gallons per day).
By the end of the week, customers in Upper Kula may notice the change because the water from the lower elevations is disinfected with chlorine, instead of the chloramines used in the Olinda, which does not have a chlorine smell.
County officials say the water meets all federal and state water quality standards. In addition, the Department would like to remind all Upcountry businesses and residents that water levels in the reservoirs are low and customers should use less water to extend the supply through the summer.
“We are still asking customers to reduce water usage by 5%. Daily average usage throughout the year is 7.5 MGD; however, demand for the past two weeks has been 9.2 MGD. This is really high,” said Director of Water Supply Jeffrey Eng.