Kihei residents fed up with flooding, demand solution

South Kihei Road has flooded numerous times in just over a year.
South Kihei Road has flooded numerous times in just over a year.(Hawaii News Now viewer)
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 6:26 PM HST
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KIHEI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kihei residents are demanding answers after several catastrophic flooding events over the past year.

South Kihei Road has flooded numerous times in just over a year.

Residents and business owners are fed up and say the county’s timeline to fix drainage problems here isn’t fast enough.

“It’s not a question of if, it’s a question of when we’re going to have the next 100-year flood. It’s just the next rainstorm away,” said Kihei resident Mike Elerding.

Flooding has impacted Kihei in December 2021, September 2022, December 2022, and January 2023.

Drone footage of South Maui of the flood in January shows much of the community under water.

Those who live and work in Kihei say they can’t take any more and drainage issues need to be fixed immediately.

“Each time we have one of these events, it’s tens of millions of dollars’ worth of damage to these properties. And those property owners are frustrated and stuck struggling for answers. I would like to know that we have government taking charge of a short-term solution for us and pushing long term solution,” said Kihei Kai AOAO President Mike Conners.

The final report for the Kihei Drainage Master Plan was just approved in December. It talks about detention basins, culvert improvements and improvements makai of Piilani Highway. The timeframe for some fixes are five to 20 plus years.

Residents say they don’t have that long.

“The county of Maui has a clear and present public health and safety issue that’s causing danger to first responders, causing danger to residents, causing danger to visitors. It’s creating property damage and the potential environmental damage that’s going to create to our shores and beaches and the marine life that’s out here is just unmeasurable,” Elerding said.

The plan states some improvements are long term because it requires coordination among Maui County, other government agencies, and private owners. It says roadway reconstruction, utility relocation, and land acquisition are anticipated.

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