WAILUKU - Council Member Mike Victorino said he believes that the time may be past for the county to tell developers, "show me the water."
In a bill introduced to the Maui County Council on Friday, Victorino proposes making significant changes to the law that requires developers to prove that they have a viable source of water for their projects before breaking ground - including a provision for the law to expire after two years.
"I really wanted to take a real hard look at the 'Show Me the Water' bill," Victorino said Friday. "That was (passed) four years ago, when Maui was in a different time."
The proposal is expected to be discussed by the Water Resources Committee at 9 a.m. Nov. 29 in eighth-floor Council Chambers of the Kalana O Maui building.
With no major new county sources coming on line since the Pookela Wells in 2000, the water requirement has led developers to invest in their own private wells and water sources - giving them control over how that water is distributed, he said.
"The county really should be the one developing, controlling the public trust of water," Victorino said. "This is one method of putting that onus back on us."
In addition to expiring the law altogether after two years, Victorino's bill would make immediate changes including exempting large-lot subdivisions from the requirement, and accepting a county water meter, water meter reservation or an engineering report as evidence of a long-term water source.
In a separate action, Victorino also introduced a bill to establish new water conservation rules and policies for the county.
Provisions in the draft legislation include rules prohibiting people from watering lawns between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m., and wasting excessive amounts of water while washing vehicles or equipment. It would also require hotels to convert to more efficient irrigation systems within five years, and require that new ornamental water features in landscaping projects, like ponds, lakes and fountains, use reclaimed or nonpotable water.
Victorino said the efforts to pass water conservation legislation had been started about five years ago but had been "languishing."
"To me, the timing is right," he said.
* Ilima Loomis can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.