How the county is paring down water meter wait list

An Aug. 17 article touted Maui County Water Department progress on paring down the Upcountry water meter list. Engineering program manager Wendy Taomoto was quoted as saying that about half of the water meters offered have been declined.

We were one of the 43 applicants in 2017 who were offered an upgraded water meter after being on the list for 17 years. We were elated! A requirement for acceptance was that we upgrade the county water transmissions lines from over a mile and a half away to our home! Our road currently has what the county refers to as “inadequate” transmission lines — 4-inch mains with standpipes instead of the current standard 6-inch mains with hydrants.

We were asked to replace these mains with 6-inch mains, install pressure-relief valves and unhook and rehook all the water meters between us and the water tank 1.5 miles away. Our cost estimate for this was $1.7 million!

After discussion with the director, we were forced to “decline” the offer for a meter upgrade, being unable to afford upgrading public infrastructure. We were removed from the list and have now been barred from reapplying. These requirements were not in effect when we applied in 2000.

The new requirements were part of the revised Maui County Code authored in 2012 by then Upcountry Council Member Gladys Baisa. Now, as director, she touts that progress on clearing the list. Yes, by removing individual applicants who cannot afford to upgrade county infrastructure.

Charles and Linda Chandler