- Associated Press - Thursday, April 3, 2014

WAILUKU, Hawaii (AP) - Upcountry Maui property owners who have been waiting years could soon be getting water service.

The county’s Department of Water Supply announced Wednesday it has started issuing Upcountry water meters, the Maui News (https://ow.ly/voRC4) reported.

The department said a project to use the Hamakuapoko wells as a backup for Upcountry water use is near completion, allowing for additional water meters to be issued. Requests for meters will be considered in the order of applicants on a priority waiting list.

Lower Kula resident Alfred Medeiros Jr. said that will allow him to move forward with a 10-home subdivision project. The development project will also mean lots of jobs, he said. He’s No. 643 on the waiting list and hasn’t been able to get project financing without confirmation the subdivision would get water service.

“I feel really grateful and relieved that the mayor has decided to help the people Upcountry,” he said. “These people have been waiting 20 to 30 years.”

Mayor Alan Arakawa said the new meters will bring relief to families who have been on the list for a generation and will help them “move forward with their future.”

Water Supply Director Dave Taylor said the Upcountry water system will remain primarily dependent on surface water sources, with the Pookela and Hamakuapoko wells as backups during times of drought.

He asked that applicants remain patient and wait to be contacted, as calls asking about applications will delay the process. “We’ve reached an exciting milestone, and I hope we can make significant inroads to shrinking the list,” he said.

According to the department’s website, there are 1,887 water meter applicants.

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Information from: The Maui News, https://www.mauinews.com

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