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Drought conditions will limit water supplies in Upcountry and West Maui

Casey Harlow
FILE - Drought conditions on Maui

Portions of Upcounty and West Maui will be under a Stage 1 drought declaration by Thursday. Nonessential water activities like car-washing and landscaping will be prohibited.

County of Maui Department of Water Director Helene Kau says drought conditions have limited available water.

"We haven't had sufficient rainfall throughout our wet season. So surface water supplies and our water reservoir surface storage are not where we need them to be to serve our customers in Upcountry and in West Maui," Kau said.

Most of Maui is in a moderate drought, according to the U.S. Drought Monitor. More than half are in severe drought conditions as of this week.

"Our Piʻiholo and Olinda water treatment facilities are averaging well below their usual capacity, at 55% and 85% respectively. Water demand in the Upcountry area average is 8 million gallons a day. And as hot dry conditions continue, we anticipate water consumption will increase," Kau said.

The U.S. Department of Agriculture declared a natural disaster in April for drought conditions on Maui. And it hasnʻt gotten any better since then, forcing the county to shift water supply.

"In West Maui, stream flows have been insufficient to supply the Lahaina water treatment facility and we have been moving water from the Mahina facility to supplement Lahaina. We ask our customers to evaluate their water use habits and make necessary changes at this time. This is a good time to fix leaks and install low-flow water fixtures," she said.

Sabrina Bodon was Hawaiʻi Public Radio's government reporter.
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