20% Voluntary Water Restriction Urged Upcountry

October 30, 2013, 4:49 PM HST · Updated October 31, 7:49 PM
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Upcountry water storage. File Photo.

Upcountry water storage. File Photo.

By Maui Now Staff

Customers in Upcountry, Maui are being urged to follow a voluntary 20% reduction in water usage due to continued dry weather and low flows into reservoirs, water officials announced today.

“Water levels in the reservoirs have dropped to the point that Upcountry customers may run out of water if usage is not severely curtailed,” said department officials today.

If the department cannot maintain reservoir levels, officials say customers may be subject to “mandatory restrictions with the penalty of meter removal.”

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In addition, customers found in violation, may be subject to a $500 fine for each violation if convicted under section 14.06.030 of the Maui County Code.

A voluntary 5% cutback was implemented by the Maui Department of Water Supply on Aug. 30, 2013, but ongoing conditions have prompted the more conservative 20% voluntary cutback request issued today.
The affected area includes water customers in Haʻikū, Makawao, Olinda, Hāliʻimaile, Pukalani, Ōmaʻopio, Pūlehu, Kula, Kēōkea, Waiohuli, ʻUlupalakua, and Kanaio.

DWS officials reported the following conditions existed at water facilities in the area as of Tuesday morning, Oct. 30, 2013:

  • Wailoa Ditch: flows were at 22.4 million gallons per day or 11.2% of capacity. For Oct. 24-30, the average flow was 23.4 MGD.
  • Kamole Water Treatment Facility: production was 4.5 MG for the previous 24-hour period. The annual average consumption for this facility is 2.4 MGD.
  • Piʻiholo Water Treatment Facility: reservoir contained 27.8 MG or 55.6% of capacity. The reservoir is at a relatively safe level due to daily pumping up from the Kamole facility to the reservoir. Piʻiholo production averaged 2.5 MG for the past week.
  • Waikamoi and Kahakapao Reservoirs: The 30 MG Waikamoi Reservoirs are empty; the 100 MG Kahakapao reservoirs hold 45.1 MG of untreated water.
  • Olinda Water Treatment Facility:  The Olinda facility was shut down in early September due to drought conditions, and is providing water to the Olinda area only. The Piʻiholo facility in Lower Kula currently supplies water to customers in Upper Kula.

Additional groundwater conditions, total demand and rainfall forecast provided by the DWS is as follows:

  • Groundwater: Kaupakalua Well production averages 0.7 MGD. The Haʻikū Well currently provides 0.4 MG, and the draw from Pookela Well is 1.3 MGD. Hāmākuapoko Wells are not ready for service at this time.
  • Total Demand:  The total average demand for the Upcountry water system for the past week was 8.2 MGD. Normally, average demand is 7.1 MGD.
  • Rainfall Forecast:  The NOAA National Weather Service prediction for the week ranges from “less than a tenth of an inch to a quarter of an inch possible” precipitation for the Makawao area for the week, according to the DWS.

“Inflows are unusually low for this time of year. If we do not get rain soon and demand remains high, we will have to implement mandatory cutbacks to preserve our water supply. If customers can use less, we can make it through without mandatory restrictions until the rains replenish the reservoirs,” said DWS Director Dave Taylor in a department-issued press release.

To help conserve water, 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, according to the DWS.

Free low-flow showerheads and leak detection dye tablets for toilets are also available at One Main Plaza, Suite 102 in Wailuku. To report leaks in the water system, customers should call 270-7633.

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