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Study places where water reuse is very successful

The Maui County Council did the right thing withdrawing from the injection well lawsuit. On behalf of the oceans and the economic importance it has to the people of the islands, mahalo.

Drs. L. Stephen Lau and John F. Mink put us all on notice in their 2006 textbook, “Hydrology of the Hawaiian Islands.” They said: “the coastal waters surrounding the islands will continue to be the ultimate sink for waste waters, either directly or indirectly.”

As we move into an era of paramount climate uncertainty, there is no water to waste. Rainfall in Hawaii will continue to decline.

We are good at wasting water. According to published data, per capita water use is 69 gallons per day, and 28 percent of that is for the toilet. A home fitted with water-conserving devices and on-site reuse of washing machine water will reduce water use to 47 gallons.

Combine this with 100 percent water reclamation and we have a win/win/win — lower water and sewer costs and a source of irrigation water. An additional success is reducing the damage to the shoreline ecosystem, thereby protecting its economic and biological value.

Neither the state nor counties have policies to help maximize efficiency and reuse. Many state policies prohibit it. We would be wise to look to places where water reuse is very successful. California and Israel have effective water policies, taking the waste out of the water and creating an economic resource with reuse.

Richard Bennett, Ph.D., Chairman,

Hawaii County Environmental

Management Commission