Progress Reported in Upcountry Water Meter Study

April 5, 2011, 8:21 AM HST · Updated April 5, 8:26 AM
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By Wendy Osher

Maui Water Director Dave Taylor said the department is about a third of the way through a list analysis to determine the cost and complexity of water needs Upcountry.

“I think sometime in the summer, maybe late summer, we’ll have at least a ballpark estimate,” said Taylor.

The department initiated the engineering study to determine how to go about addressing the water meter list that has grown to an estimated 1500 applicants.

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“Our staff is going through the water meter list applicant by applicant.  They’re looking at how many meters people are asking for, where exactly they are, where exactly geographically these requests are, putting them on a map, and estimating the cost of getting the off-site improvements–the piping improvements to that site,” said Taylor.

Dave Taylor, photo by Wendy Osher.

Once the mapping is complete, Taylor said the department will start looking at both geographic and financial solutions, such as piggybacking areas grouped tight enough together onto the same pipeline improvements.

“Every chance I talk about this, I want to explain to people that it is not going to be exact numbers,” said Taylor. “We don’t want to spend years and years, and millions of dollars studying this.  We want to find out about how much will it cost per person, per applicant, per location.  Is it $10,000 or is it $100,000,” said Taylor.

“We’re not trying to nail it down to the dollars and the pennies, we’re just trying to find out how big or small is this problem, where is the problem worse, where is it easier to solve, and where should our focus be,” said Taylor.

Taylor said aside from source issues, the more difficult problem will be the pipeline improvements needed to get the water to scattered locations all over Upcountry, Maui.

“Even though that hasn’t gotten much press over the years, from an engineering standpoint, that’s actually a bigger, more complex problem,” said Taylor.  “So we are really spearheading that, so we get an idea of the entire problem, and then start working back to solutions,” he said.

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