Different Water Systems, Drought Determine Maui Water Restriction - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

Different Water Systems, Drought Determine Maui Water Restriction

Dietmar Salat Dietmar Salat

By Leland Kim

MAUI (KHNL) -- KHNL's "Drought Watch" takes us to the Valley Isle. Maui is experiencing a dry year, but separate water systems mean the drought affects various areas of the island differently.

Paradise Farms, Inc., in Kula, Maui, and its neighbors in upcountry Maui are under a mandatory 10 percent water restriction. So far it hasn't affected Craig Rasmussen's flower business, but if the drought continues, the next step could be a 25 percent reduction.

"That would require the cutting off and pulling out of fields earlier than they would be normally," said Rasmussen.

Systems have been set up to pump water to upcountry Maui, but the drought is affecting how much water is available.

But further south in Kihei, it's a different story. Lush landscaping and beautiful waterfalls highlight many Wailea resorts.

It takes a lot of water to keep everything green, so the Renaissance Wailea Beach Resort does its part by going "green." It even monitors its water usage on a daily basis.

"If there's a big discrepancy, we try to investigate to find out where and the reason why we use more water," said Dietmar Salat, the hotel general manager.

The reason Wailea resorts are not required to cut back is because upcountry and Kihei are under two separate systems: ground water in Kihei, and surface water in upcountry.

Because they're different sources, and we're not receiving rain and they are, that's just the way it is," said Rasmussen.

If this hot, dry weather continues it could have a prolonged impact, particularly in upcountry Maui. But Rasmussen doesn't begrudge his south Maui neighbors.

"Life isn't fair, and the water sources are from two different mountains," he said. "So, I don't have any animosity towards Wailea."

Maui county officials said voluntary water conservation efforts seem to be working, and they have no immediate plans to expand mandatory water restrictions in upcountry Maui.

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