Ask the Mayor: Will Waikamoi Flume Be Open to Hikers?

June 29, 2015, 7:14 AM HST · Updated July 5, 2:12 PM
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Waikamoi flume replacement. Photo courtesy Maui Department of Water Supply.

Waikamoi flume replacement. Photo courtesy Maui Department of Water Supply.

Mayor Alan Arakawa answers some of the most-asked questions submitted to his office staff.

Dear Mr. Mayor,

Q: I saw some pictures online about what the new Waikamoi Flume looks like and it looks great. Quick question though– now that there’s a sturdy, aluminum path up there, do you think the county will open up the flume for hikers? It looks beautiful and much safer now. I’m sure many children would love to walk on the flume and learn about our water resources. It could be a great teaching tool for our keiki.

A: Thank you for your compliment on the new Waikamoi Flume. Our new flume replaces the old wooden one, which had been leaking water for decades now. The new aluminum flume retains much more water and is more efficient at delivering it to our Upcountry customers.

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But, while this flume is much more sturdy and durable that it has ever been before, it is by no means a safe walking path for hikers. Please consider the following:

  1. To get to the flume you must drive or walk across lands owned by three different landowners. The flume is located on private land. Our permission to use the roads for access and to walk on the flume is limited only to access by Maui County Department of Water Supply employees for the purpose of maintaining the flume. No other access is allowed without special permission.
  2. The streams serving the Waikamoi Flume and the flume itself are collectively a source of drinking water for the Upcountry area. It is important that access to this drinking water source be limited to prevent any possible contamination of drinking water.
  3. The watershed lands surrounding the streams and the flume are largely pristine forested areas. It is important to preserve this watershed and to protect it from introduction of invasive plants and animals that could destroy the native forest and impair the water source for future generations. The best method of protecting this resource is to prevent access which is not absolutely necessary.
  4. There are hazards in the watershed forest, access roads and the flume itself which can present very real and potentially life threatening dangers to a hiker, especially to persons not trained and familiar with the hazardous conditions.

Besides, you don’t have to actually hike the flume to learn more about it–just watch the Maui County produced video (above) about the need for the Waikamoi Flume replacement project.

Want to Ask the Mayor?

Submit your questions about County of Maui programs, services, operations or policies to Mayor Alan Arakawa via email at [email protected], by phone at 270-7855 or by mail to 200 S. High St., 9th Floor, Wailuku, HI 96793. Questions submitted will be considered for inclusion in the Ask the Mayor column.

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