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Upgrade would deliver potable water to West Maui projects

State says proposed improvements do not need additional studies

A proposed water system improvement project in Honokowai will help deliver potable water to state projects in West Maui. Two state agencies concluded that new or additional environmental impacts will not need to be examined for the project. AUSTIN, TSUTSUMI AND ASSOCIATES graphic

A proposed water system improvement project will help deliver potable water to Department of Hawaiian Home Lands and other state projects in West Maui.

The project will use an existing drilled and cased test well in Honokowai as a potable water source for nearby developments, including DHHL’s proposed 253 single-family residential units in the future Villages of Leali’i, Village 1, Phase 1B subdivision. Water from the well, which was built as an exploratory well by DHHL on about 2.5 acres of state lands, would also serve a portion of the future Villages of Leali’i master-planned project and, as capacity permits, DHHL’s Honokowai lands for future planned agricultural, residential and commercial purposes, according to documents from the state Office of Environmental Quality Control.

Project details were published earlier this month in OEQC’s “The Environmental Notice,” after the Office of the Governor and DHHL determined that new or additional environmental impact studies are not needed for the water system improvements.

In order to use the well as a potable water source, the water would have to be sent north through a new 12-inch transmission main and connect with the county Department of Water Supply’s existing water system near the Mahinahina Water Treatment Facility in Honokowai, according to a letter from Gov. David Ige to acting OEQC Director Keith Kawaoka.

Other upgrades will also involve the development of a new 500,000-gallon reservoir. DHHL officials said Monday that the anticipated cost is $4 million for the project, which is part of a larger DHHL Honokowai Water System Improvements plan.

According to Ige’s letter, the project does not require additional study because the proposed improvements are “substantially similar” to actions described in the Hawaii Housing Finance and Development Corporation’s 2012 final environmental impact statement for the Villages of Leiali’i, a proposed mixed-use community with affordable and market-priced housing with open, commercial and light industrial spaces and public facilities.

The state also determined that the components of the Honokowai Water System Improvement project in the Wahikuli area are expected to have effects similar to those analyzed in the 2012 study and that the environmental setting and probable environmental impacts as described in the 2012 study have not substantially changed or intensified.

* Melissa Tanji can be reached at mtanji@mauinews.com.

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