Upcountry Maui residents asked to conserve water

WAILUKU, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) - A drought watch is in effect for Upcountry Maui effective August 30.

Due to continued extremely dry weather conditions and low flows into the water reservoirs, Upcountry residents are urged to voluntarily conserve water by 10% or more until further notice.

The affected area includes Haiku, Makawao, Olinda, Haliimaile, Pukalani, Omaopio/Pulehu, Kula, Keokea/Waiohuli, Ulupalakua, and Kanaio.

Maui's Director of Water Supply Dave Taylor said that conditions have been very dry in the watershed areas with little or no rainfall. As a result, the Wailoa Ditch, a primary Upcountry water source, has been flowing at less than 40 million gallons per day (MGD) for the past week. In addition, the 100 MG Kahakapao reservoirs currently hold only 33.4 MG and the Waikamoi reservoirs are empty.

Furthermore, the short term weather forecast does not show any likelihood of substantial rainfall. Under these conditions, all Upcountry residents are asked to conserve water as best as they can. Po'okela Well is operational, and adds 1.3 MGD to the system. The total average demand for the Upcountry water system for the past week was 8.5 MGD. Normally, average demand is 7.1 MGD.

"Inflows are low. 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 Director Taylor.

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.

Free low-flow showerheads and leak detection dye tablets for toilets are available at One Main Plaza, Suite 102 in Wailuku. For more information on how to save water, contact the DWS at 463-3110. To report leaks in the water system, please call 270-7633.

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