Maui resort plan raises
water questions

A councilman says Makena Resort
should find its own sources

WAILUKU >> Maui County Councilman Wayne Nishiki has proposed that a South Maui resort provide its own water sources, storage facilities and transmission lines for its 603-acre expansion.

chart Nishiki said he wanted the Makena Resort to also develop one affordable housing unit for every two market units and build the affordable units within the resort area.

Nishiki said he felt the resort should be less exclusive in housing people with various incomes.

"I feel if I can work for the hotel, I can live there," he said. "We all need to live and work together."

His proposal came yesterday evening as his Planning and Land Use Committee reviewed the resort's request for rezoning 603 acres, including an existing golf course and 153 acres of vacant land.

The resort includes two golf courses and the 310-room Maui Prince Hotel.

Makena Resort Corp. Vice President Roy Figueiroa said the company's current proposal actually reduces the overall density of the development to 1,189 units from a potential of 3,000 units.

But critics note that the proposal comes when county officials say 90 percent of the houses sold on Maui are being bought by out-of-state residents and domestic water wells in Central Maui have reached maximum pumping levels.

County water officials said they are developing 2.2 million gallons a day of water at Hamakuapoko and Iao but will need more sources to provide for the resort's expansion and other developments. Maui Mayor Alan Arakawa is negotiating with C. Brewer to divert up to 25 million gallons of stream water a day for domestic use, but a Brewer official said the negotiations remain far apart.

Some Council members have indicated they want to begin imposing stricter use of domestic drinking water. While the resort has used brackish water for its two golf courses, it uses domestic water for irrigating plants at its hotel.

Councilwoman Charmaine Tavares said she felt it was time to take a hard look at limiting the kind of water use in dry areas of South Maui.

"You don't build a tropical jungle in a desert," she said. "We've got to stop doing this."

The proposal led to a two-day marathon of public testimony by more than 185 people earlier this week, most opposed to the proposal or worried about its impact.

Council Vice Chairman Riki Hokama said the resort has made significant contributions in the last 30 years, including money to help to fund the transmission line that brought water to South Maui and an employee housing fund that now totals $1.2 million.

The committee is scheduled to meet Monday morning for a vote on the proposal.


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