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What can be done to better protect West Maui from fires?

By Staff | Mar 12, 2020

It’s sad that House Bill 2518 promptly died at the Hawaii Legislature, because it would have initiated steps to help address two major issues in West Maui.

Introduced by Maui representatives, the doomed bill would have facilitated the reuse of treated wastewater and established a network of water reservoirs for firefighters to use during brush fires – perhaps the greatest ongoing threat to health and safety in West Maui.

The measure explains, “The legislature finds that an average of over 8,700,000 gallons of treated water is disposed of every day using injection wells on the island of Maui. This method of disposal causes groundwater contamination, algae blooms and coral reef damage in nearshore waters.”

Based on its history of legal challenges, this idiotic practice will continue until the County of Maui is forced to make changes.

With summer approaching, wildfires are a very real and dangerous threat in West Maui.

Residents certainly have the right to ask state and county officials, “What are you doing to address the situation?”

Regardless of the bill, the county and state should work with landowners to shore up former plantation reservoirs and fill them for use this summer and fall.

Creating the berm to keep flames away from Honoapiilani Highway at the entrance to the Pali was a smart step. What else should be done?

The Maui Emergency Management Agency has begun to develop an update to the county’s Hazard Mitigation Plan to address threats such as wildfires, significant beach erosion and highway rockslides.

The county needs your help identifying solutions to the problems associated with natural hazards. The general public is encouraged to participate in the hazard mitigation plan by filling out the Public Preparedness Survey at www.surveymonkey.com/r/mitigatemaui.

Public meetings will be offered throughout the county in the coming months.

For more information about the Hazard Mitigation Plan, or to learn about ways to participate in its development, contact Hazard Mitigation Officer Anthony Joyce at 270-7286 or visit www.mauicounty.gov/1832/Multi-Hazard-Mitigation-Plan.