Ask Mayor: Water Meters; Mural for Pu’unene/Kuihelani Wall?
By Mayor Alan Arakawa
Q: Over the past 15 years, my family and I have moved up the water meter list from 650 to the top 50. My husband comes from a long-time kama’aina family, and it’s been frustrating to have to wait so long without being able to build or even prepare the land. We had hoped to retire by now, but the lack of a water meter means we will have to keep working to be able to build a house on our family property in Haiku. With interest rates on the rise again, we are faced with even greater pressures to move forward and we can’t afford a $100,000 well to get our own water like the big developers can. What’s the prognosis for any Upcountry water meters to be released in the near future? Mahalo for looking into this.
A: The Hamakuapoko wells are scheduled to be operational before the end of the year. After that, we expect to offer water meters based on the increased capacity of the system. Because each application is different, and some people will accept the meters and some will not, it is impossible to predict exactly how much of the list will be processed. However, Department of Water Supply staff are expecting to get through several hundred, so you should be offered a meter. As there are so many applications and each application is unique, it will take several months at minimum to complete this process. Additionally, once the reconstruction of Waikamoi Flume is completed, our Upcountry water system is expected to retain approximately 40% more water that is currently being lost due to the numerous leaks in the decaying redwood flume that was built in the mid-1930s. In fact, the original Waikamoi water collection system was developed in 1908, and first replaced and upgraded when the County of Maui Territorial Government constructed the redwood flume. The last major replacement of sections of the wooden flume took place in 1974-1975. In the long-term, the increased reliability of the Upcountry water delivery system is expected to help residents avoid seasonal drought restrictions and allow us to distribute even more water meters. To learn more, you can watch a short YouTube video produced by my office: simply type “Waikamoi flume” into the YouTube search bar.
Q: Why are people using the county community centers for events allowed to stay past the time limit on the rental agreement? I always thought the county had someone there at a certain time to make sure the center was closed according to the rental agreement.
A: Rental hours for events held at county community centers end at 10 p.m., then facility users have an hour to clean up until 11 p.m. – the official curfew time when the exterior gates are locked. The Department of Parks and Recreation does not have the personnel to individually staff each location so they make rounds to all of the different facilities during the evening, and again after the events, to lock up.
Q: I was wondering if the county owns the rights to the 2.5-mile or so cinder block wall that goes from Pu‘unene Avenue around the corner and down Kuihelani Highway. I drive by that long wall numerous times a week, as do other residents and visitors. I believe that wall could be a wonderful mural to look at vs. plain cinder block with occasional graffiti. My thoughts: engage local artists to donate time and talent, engage businesses to donate materials, and engage juveniles (with supervision and help of the artists) who need to perform community service. Do you know who owns the wall and if a mural of local wild life, marine life, plants, etc. would be acceptable to that owner(s)?
A: Kuihelani Highway is state-owned and maintained, thus the county does not have jurisdiction over the wall. The idea you mention could be a nice addition to the drive to Lahaina. Please contact the state Department of Transportation Highways Division to inquire whether a project of that nature might be considered: www.hidot.hawaii.gov/highways/
Want to Ask the Mayor?
Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email: [email protected], phone: 270-7855 or mail: 200 S. High Street, 9th Floor, Wailuku, Hawaii 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the “Ask the Mayor” column.