KCA highlights actions that need to be taken

The Kihei Community Association is concerned about the integrity and sustainability of Maui’s water supply and, in particular, southwest Maui’s water supply. In southwest Maui, development proceeds with no new water resources identified. Our present usage of water sources exceeds our ability to sustain the water supply. Therefore, it is KCA’s position that timely action needs to be undertaken as soon as practical.

Items to address:

* Update Maui County’s 23-year-old Water Use and Development Plan to be in touch with current circumstances, expected future demand and the effects of a changing climate.

* Increase utilization of wastewater in southwest Maui, as well as other areas of Maui.

* Complete the southwest Maui (Kihei) storm drain master plan. Attempt to capture storm runoff for use as water supply and/or to recharge our aquifers.

* Develop and implement a water conservation plan for new development as well as existing uses.

* Restrict new development that will cause further degradation of our aquifers with increased salinity and remediate the causes of rising salinity levels.

* Continue to monitor salinity levels in our aquifers and take specific actions to stabilize them for the benefit of current and future users.

KCA’s position is based on the following assumptions and facts:

* Southwest Maui is essentially a desert without its own independent water supply. Its water needs are currently met by access to water from the West Maui aquifer system.

* Southwest Maui sits on top of the Kamaole aquifer, a brackish aquifer at lower elevations. Confidence in its sustainable yield estimation is categorized at the lowest level of certainty.

* Salinity levels in the West Maui aquifer system have been rising consistently over a long period of time, based on credible data provided by the U.S. Geological Survey.

* Southwest Maui and other parts of the Hawaiian Islands have been in prolonged drought. Rainfall over the Hawaiian Islands has been in decline since 1978. This spring, rainfall in Maui County was the lowest recorded in modern history.

* Maui County’s Water Use and Development Plan is 23 years old and is no longer a relevant planning document, both in terms of the current situation and the expected future.

* Significant development of southwest Maui land looms both in terms of already approved developments and significant new developments, including expansion of the Maui Research & Technology Park, construction of a new high school and development of the 88-acre Kaonoulu Industrial Park property, Makena Resort and Honua’ula.

* Mike Moran is the president of the Kihei Community Association.