Drought-Related Water Restrictions Lifted in Upcountry, Maui

November 13, 2013, 3:15 PM HST · Updated November 13, 5:05 PM
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Upcountry Maui, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Upcountry Maui. File photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

Recent heavy rains and forecasts calling for more wet weather, prompted a cancellation today of the 20% voluntary water restriction that was in place for Upcountry water customers.

Maui Department of Water Supply Director Dave Taylor announced the cancellation today, saying reservoirs are now at safe levels.

The voluntary cutback request was implemented on Oct. 30 due to “extremely dry weather conditions and low flows into the water reservoirs.”

Dave Taylor, file photo by Wendy Osher.

Dave Taylor. File photo by Wendy Osher.

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At the time, officials noted that Upcountry customers could run out of water if usage was not “severely curtailed.”

Today, water officials released information saying, “recent heavy rains have increased reservoirs to safe levels.”

The temporary voluntary restrictions had affected customers in Haʻikū, Makawao, Olinda, Haliʻimaile, Pukalani, Ōmaʻopio/Pūlehu, Kula, Keokea/Waiohuli, ʻUlupalakua, and Kanaio. Customers with agricultural water rates were exempt from the voluntary request.

Updated water data released by the Maui DOW includes a report of existing conditions at water sources in the Upcountry region as of Wednesday morning, Nov. 13. The report is as follows:

  • Wailoa Ditch: Flows were at 95 million gallons per day or 47.5% of capacity.
  • Piʻiholo Water Treatment Facility: Full at 50 MG. Piʻiholo facility production was 3.6 MG and is providing water for the Makawao, Lower Kula, and Upper Kula water systems.
  • Kamole Water Treatment Facility: Production was 0.1 MG for the previous 24-hour period due to the Piʻiholo facility providing water to the lower elevations, saving on pumping costs.
  • Waikamoi and Kahakapao Reservoirs: The 30 MG Waikamoi Reservoirs have 8.9 MG or 29.7%; the 100 MG Kahakapao reservoirs are at 89.4%.
  • Olinda Water Treatment Facility: Is currently offline and department personnel are preparing to restart operations. Total water consumption (including groundwater sources) for all of Upcountry was 5.9 MG.

Maui received especially heavy rainfall early Sunday morning, with intermittent flood advisories and warnings issued throughout the weekend. Maui County is currently under a flood watch that remains in effect through Thursday afternoon, Nov. 14.

According to hydrology reports from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, rainfall over the 24-hour period ending at 11 p.m. on Sunday, Nov. 10 was: 0.18 inches at the Kaupō Gap; 0.10 inches in Kīhei; 3.55 inches at Kahului Airport; 0.04 inches in Wailuku; 8.07 inches at Puʻu Kukui; and 3.98 inches at Kahakuloa.

The NOAA also reported a record rainfall set in Kahului on Sunday, with more than 3.5 inches of rain reported over a 24-hour period in Kahului, sinking the old record of 1.78 inches set in 1955, compared to all previous known rainfall for past dates of Nov. 10.

Also on Sunday, forecasters from the National Weather service said the rain gauge at Pukalani recorded rain falling at a rate of 2 inches per hour.

Officials with the Department of Water Supply thanked those in the Upcountry community for their patience and cooperation in conserving water during the request period.

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