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Maui's Growing Water Reuse Experience

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The County of Maui's Wastewater Reclamation Division (WWRD) is recognized as a water reuse leader in the State of Hawaii. This paper will track the development of the WWRD's water reuse program from the early 1990's to its current status of playing an important role in sustainable water resource management in Maui County. The objectives of Maui's water reuse program are to supplement Maui's limited potable water supply and to reduce the use of injection wells for effluent disposal. Recycled water is reused from all five of the County's wastewater reclamation facilities and significant distribution systems have been constructed in south and west Maui. Recycled water is now used for a wide variety of purposes including landscape irrigation, agricultural irrigation, cooling, fire control, composting, toilet flushing, environmental enhancement and construction purposes.

Key components that have contributed to the success of the WWRD's reuse program included water reuse feasibility studies, the creation of a Water Recycling Program Coordinator position, wastewater reclamation facility upgrades, recycled water distribution system development, passage of a mandatory recycled water use ordinance, the development of a community based rate structure, and proactive public education. The initial primary factor driving Maui's water reuse program was a concern that the use of injection wells for effluent disposal was the main cause of periodic seaweed blooms that occur in Maui's coastal waters. While this concern still lingers, increased development and the lack of available fresh water have shifted the primary driving factor to more of a water supply issue. Recycled water is now considered an extremely valuable resource in Maui County and as a result, developers are funding expansions to Maui County's recycled water distribution systems. These expansions will benefit Maui's community and environment through potable water savings and the reduction in the use of injection wells for effluent disposal.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2007-10-01

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