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Maui Water Availability Limit is Lifted – A Gift For Housing

If you have been trying to get an additional water meter on Maui to allow you to build a cottage, there is great news from the Maui Water Department. Effective July 1, 2016, the water department announced that limited additional water supply would be made available for property owners with existing meters.

Today, I made a phone call to the Water Department Engineering Division and they confirmed that this is true, but words that I heard very clearly were, “You better buy the units right now, even if you can’t use them immediately.” In other words, this is a temporary response to the dire need for additional housing everywhere.

If you have been trying to build a cottage on your property, or expand your existing home to add living area that requires toilets, showers, sinks, and other water-using fixtures, but your water meter capacity did not allow for additional use on your meter, this is great news. With the meter waiting list of over 1,000 people in the Upcountry area of Maui, which includes all of Kula, Pukalani, Makawao, Haiku, Haliimaile, and Haiku, residents in these areas who own an existing meter may now be able to build.

The present limitations on water meters are:

  • 5/8 inch meter size: 31 fixture units
  • 3/4 inch meter size: 53 fixture units
  • 1 inch meter size: 128 fixture units

What Does This Mean?

If you go to the county website, you will find a link to the water meter sizing worksheet and the proposed new fees.

If you want to build a cottage, for example, and your present home is using all 31 fixture units available, you would need, at a minimum, the following: tub/shower 1.7 units, lavatory 0.6 units, toilet 1.7 units, kitchen sink 0.6 units, and if you wanted to add a washing machine, it would be 2.0 units for a total of 6.5 units. The cost for the additional 7 units (6.5 rounded up to 7), you would pay 7 times $389 per unit, or $2,723.

The impact of this water rule is huge for housing of all types, especially rentals, as it will allow the addition of cottages where allowed on existing lots and expansion of existing homes to allow more living area. The cost is significantly lower than buying an upsize meter, if it is available at all.

For example, if you have to purchase a new 5/8 inch meter, the fee is $12,060, which allows 31 fixture units. To purchase a 3/4 inch meter, the fee is $18,884 and it allows 53 units. If you don’t need the additional 22 units, you can save a lot of money.

As a final note, if you own a residential condo on Maui and you are sharing a water meter presently, this may allow you to expand your present “condo” unit. Generally, this is a limitation for residential condos.

Bottom Line

This is probably one of the most effective ways that the county has helped with the need for more housing in years. Many thanks are due to David Taylor who heads the Water Department and those in the administration who have supported this decision.

You better pay for your units immediately, pull your building permits, and get to work before this opportunity literally “dries up.”

Tracy S. Stice
808-281-5411  
tracy@HawaiiLife.com

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Rick Wyffels

July 14, 2016

Very informative. Very well written. This information will benefit many people. Mahalo Tracy!

Rick Wyffels

July 14, 2016

Very informative. Very well written. This information will benefit many people. Mahalo Tracy!

Tracy Stice

July 14, 2016

Rick, thanks for your comment. I wrote it to be passed around. By putting the basic information on one site or blog with the correct links, an interested party can do some quick math and figure the economics for themselves.

Tracy Stice

July 14, 2016

Rick, thanks for your comment. I wrote it to be passed around. By putting the basic information on one site or blog with the correct links, an interested party can do some quick math and figure the economics for themselves.

Jeff Simon

July 15, 2016

Awesome article, Tracy! Very informative and timely. I really appreciate it.

Jeff Simon

July 15, 2016

Awesome article, Tracy! Very informative and timely. I really appreciate it.

Tracy Stice

July 15, 2016

Thanks Jeff,

It will work as a reference piece for clients who want to build.

Tracy Stice

July 15, 2016

Thanks Jeff,

It will work as a reference piece for clients who want to build.

Tim Stice

July 18, 2016

This will definitely be helpful for large homes where the main dwelling required all 31 fixtures. If they eventually want to build a cottage here is their chance!

Good work Tracy…

Tim Stice

July 18, 2016

This will definitely be helpful for large homes where the main dwelling required all 31 fixtures. If they eventually want to build a cottage here is their chance!

Good work Tracy…

Sam

June 29, 2018

Well, I’ve been number 8 on the Upcountry Water Meter wait list since 2001. The county just offered me to add a meter to my property but the upgrade to the water main that they say I would need to pay for to be able to get the meter they are offering will cost over $1.3 Million. I’ve been waiting for 17 years for this? Seriously?

They estimate over 4,400 linear ft to be upgraded to 6″ pipe and buried into Piiholo Rd would be needed if I wanted to subdivide my 5 acres into two parcels. A bit less if I only want to add the meter but not subdivide. Who could afford that without adding value to the property through subdividing? But there’s not that much value to be added. At best subdividing would add $600k to $700K to my property.

This is insane. Why isn’t this being done as an improvement district so that all of us on this 2″ water main could all upgrade and pay it off over time? The county could guarantee a loan, get the work done and increase the tax base in this area now, save a huge amount of administrative and engineering costs and we could all pay it back in added taxes over 15 years.

A contractor today ballparked it at $300 per linear ft. around $1,300,000 for approx 25 homes, none of which can get additional fixtures because there’s no capacity left on the 2″ plastic water main in our zone.

There are 4 parcels on this stretch that are on the water meter wait list so those could pay a larger share than the other who would only benefit by being able to add fixtures. I’d certainly find a way to $150K even $250K if I stood to add $700K to my property.

Tracy Stice

July 2, 2018

> Sam, your comments on the water line in Olinda ring so true. When I applied to subdivide my 5 acres in Haiku in 1980, the county wanted me to install 5000 feet of 12 inch water line off site. At that time it only cost about $1,000,000. Needless to say I did not do it, I just waited. About five years later, two developers decided to do large subdivisions below my lot and did all of my required water line improvements for me so they served as my improvement district. With the ” sliding scale ” zoning change in 1999, it is no longer possible to take 40 acres and make 18 lots, so I doubt you will see something like this happen again. You only solution to is start talking to your neighbors, create your own ” improvement district ” and take it to the county council. The added benefit will be a lot better fire protection because they will require hydrants and now , an 8 inch line, not a 6 inch.

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