Maui News

ʻĪao Minimum Stream Flows to be Interrupted for Ditch Repairs

August 3, 2015, 2:14 PM HST
* Updated August 4, 4:47 PM
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File Image: Malika Dudley

By Maui Now Staff

The Wailuku River (ʻĪao Stream) will be nearly dry over a three to four day span to enable repairs by the Wailuku Water Company to the Waiheʻe Ditch siphon, according to the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

The work is scheduled to take place in mid to late August 2015, and is subject to the availability of supplies, work completion, and weather conditions.

According to a DLNR announcement, the company’s work plan indicates that the stream needs to be nearly dry to repair the siphon and provide a safe working environment.

As part of the repairs, Wailuku Water Company will divert a portion of the flow of the Wailuku River (ʻĪao Stream) at the upper diversion.

Wailuku Water Company president Avery Chumbley (left with purple shirt) oversees the release of 10 mgd of water above Kepaniwai.  The release was part of an agreement reached with several environmental groups including Hui O Nā Wai ʻEhā and Earthjustice.  Photo by Wendy Osher.

Wailuku Water Company president Avery Chumbley (left with purple shirt) oversees the release of water above Kepaniwai during an announced release in October 2014. The release was part of an agreement reached with several environmental groups including Hui O Nā Wai ʻEhā and Earthjustice. File photo by Wendy Osher.

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During this time, the interim in-stream flow standard release of 10 million gallons of water per day near the Hawaiʻi Nature Center will be temporarily suspended.  After completion, officials with the state DLNR say water will be returned to the stream to meet the IIFS at Kepaniwai Park.

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According to the state announcement, access to the construction area will be limited due to safety concerns.

Wailuku Water Company began releasing water into ʻĪao Stream pursuant to the April 2014 Settlement Agreement in the Nā Wai ‘Ehā Contested Case that called for a 10 mgd interim in-stream flow standard.

The Agreement involved Hui o Nā Wai ʻEhā, Maui Tomorrow Foundation, the Office of Hawaiian Affairs, Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company, Wailuku Water Company, the Maui County Department of Water Supply, and the State Commission on Water Resource Management.

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State officials say the Agreement also included other streams in the area, which will not be affected by the repairs.

The Waiheʻe Ditch provides water to both kuleana and private entities, including Hawaiian Commercial and Sugar Company.

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