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Water Supply declares Upcountry shortage, reduced usage

Due to the potential for drier conditions this summer, the county Department of Water Supply on Friday declared a Stage 1 water shortage effective immediately for Upcountry that asks area customers to voluntarily reduce water consumption by 10 percent.

Water customers in Haiku, Makawao, Olinda, Pukalani, Kula, Haliimaile, Omaopio/Pulehu, Keokea/Waiohuli, Ulupalakua and Kanaio are impacted by the Stage 1 shortage. Conservation measures suggested by the county include the following:

• Watering lawns only when needed, reducing automatic irrigation time and watering when the sun is down to avoid evaporation.

• Turning off water faucets when washing dishes, brushing teeth, or shaving.

• Shortening shower times or only partially filling tub for baths.

• Washing clothes using full wash loads and proper settings.

• Washing cars using a bucket or taking cars to a car wash. Most of the car washes on Maui are fitted with recirculating water.

• Installing low-flow fixtures; free low-flow shower heads, faucet aerators, toilet bags, hose nozzles and leak detection dye tablets for toilets are available from the department by calling 463-3110.

• Checking in and around homes for leaks.

The state drought monitor spring forecast predicts a 70 percent chance of El Nino conditions for Hawaii, which means warmer ocean water temperatures causing drier conditions statewide. There is also a possibility that Hawaii’s next wet season, which normally begins in October, may be dry as well, according to the county.

By law, the water director, with the approval of the mayor, is authorized to declare a water shortage whenever the water supply becomes inadequate in any area in the county due to a period of drought, an infrastructure or mechanical malfunction, natural disaster, or other event causing a water shortage.

A Stage 1 water shortage exists if the director determines that anticipated water demand in an area is projected to exceed available water supply by 1 to 15 percent, according to the county.

Call the 24-hour hotline at 270-7633 for questions or if a water-related problem occurs.