Water Conservation Urged Upcountry, Drought Continues

October 26, 2012, 3:26 PM HST · Updated October 26, 5:00 PM
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Upcountry water storage. File Photo.

By Wendy Osher

Water officials on Maui issued an advisory today urging residents in Upcountry, Maui, to continue voluntary conservation.

If the Department of Water Supply cannot maintain reservoir levels, officials say customers may be required to cut back water usage by 10%.

The voluntary 5% cutback has been in effect for the Upcountry region since June 25, 2009, and does not apply to customers with agricultural water rates.

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Water Supply Administrative Officer Jacky Takakura said the request is “due to continued dry weather conditions and low flows into the water reservoirs.”

Affected areas include: Haiku, Makawao, Olinda, Haliimaile, Pukalani, Omaopio, Pulehu, Kula, Keokea, Waiohuli, Ulupalakua, and Kanaio.

As of Friday morning, Oct. 26 DWS officials said total average demand for the Upcountry water system for the past week was 8.4 million gallons per day (MGD). That’s above the normal, average demand of 7.1 MGD.

The following conditions were reported Friday morning:

  • Wailoa Ditch: flows were at 28 million gallons per day or 14% of capacity.
  • Kamole Water Treatment Facility: Production was 5 million gallons for the previous 24-hour period. The annual average consumption at the facility is 2.4 MGD; for the past week production averaged 5 MGD.
  • Piiholo Water Treatment Facility: contained 45 MG or 90% of capacity. DWS officials say the reservoir is at a safe level due to average daily pumping of 1.9 MGD from the Kamole facility to the reservoir. Piiholo production averaged 2 MG for the past week.
  • Waikamoi and Kahakapao Reservoirs: the 30 MG Waikamoi Reservoirs are empty; the 100 MG Kahakapao reservoirs hold 51.4 MG (51.4%) of untreated water.
  • Olinda Water Treatment Facility: average daily production at the Olinda facility for the Upper Kula service area was 1.8 MGD for the past week. If Kahakapao reservoir levels continue to drop, DWS officials say the Olinda facility will be shut down in early November, and will provide water to the Olinda area only. The Piiholo facility in Lower Kula will supply water to customers in Upper Kula.
  • Groundwater: Kaupakalua Well in Haiku is currently out of service due to a motor replacement. It should resume operation in approximately one month, according to authorities. Average production is normally 0.8 MG. The Haiku Well currently provides 0.4 MG, and the draw from Pookela Well is 1.3 MGD. Hamakuapoko Wells are not ready for service at this time.

Hydrologists with the National Weather Service Climate Prediction Center issued a rainfall forecast report earlier this season. According to the report, Senior Service Hydrologist Kevin Kodama said, “Probabilities favor below normal precipitation through the rest of 2012. October has been incredibly dry so far.”

What Customers Can Do to Conserve:

  • DWS officials say consumers should check in and around homes for leaks, use water conservatively, and install water saving devices where possible. Suggested conservation methods include not washing cars, irrigating lawns or filling storage tanks or reservoirs. Decreasing outdoor water use is a simple yet significant way to reduce water consumption.
  • Free low-flow showerheads and leak detection dye tablets for toilets are available at One Main Plaza, Suite 102 in Wailuku.
  • For more information on how to save water, contact the DWS at 463-3110. To report leaks in the water system, please call 270-7633.

DWS officials say they will continue to access other sources of water (including groundwater), and continue monitoring of weather forecasts and source water flows.

***Supporting information courtesy Maui Department of Water Supply.

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