Flash flooding on Maui spurs concerns over flood control problem - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Flash flooding on Maui spurs concerns over flood control problems

(image: Kathy Lyon) (image: Kathy Lyon)
(image: Judy Wright) (image: Judy Wright)
(image: Judy Wright) (image: Judy Wright)
(image: Judy Wright) (image: Judy Wright)
(image: Hawaii News Now/file) (image: Hawaii News Now/file)
KIHEI, MAUI (HawaiiNewsNow) -

Flash floods on Maui this week are raising questions about why little has been done to control the dangerous run-off.

Seven people were rescued from South Kihei Road on Tuesday. But some worry next time, people won't be so lucky.

Judy Lyon and Kathy Wright of Idaho were the first to call firefighters. They tried to get through rising waters in their borrowed Jaguar.

"We charged through the first one and the second one was a little scary, and we could honestly feel it shaking the car…then her car died and we couldn't get it started again…so we were kind of stranded and we could almost feel it floating a little bit," said Judy Wright.

Kathy said the water was thigh deep and flowing really fast.

"I didn't want to open the door because there was water at my feet, on the driver’s side. So I knew it was bad and I probably couldn't have opened the door,” she said.

Witnesses pushed their car to a nearby parking lot and a fire crew helped them out safely.

But this raises concerns to a much broader issue. Kihei is prone to flooding because it's right in the drainage path of a 10,000 foot volcano, Haleakala.

Officials say most of the town was developed in the 1970's and 80's before federal flood maps. It wasn’t until 1992 that the county created a flood hazard ordinance.

They have been working on a master plan to build flood control for years. Maui County Communications Director Rod Antone the draft "South Maui Drainage Master plan" for the Kulanihakoi area includes a retention basin and a channelized flood control structure flood channels that is estimated to cost $57 million. Antone said that includes the cost of land acquisition.

Antone said the county is hoping to have the plan ready by the summer.

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