After years of hard work, the Maui Meadows Homeowners Association's efforts have finally paid off. On July 21, 2003, Maui's `Iao Aquifer, the principal source of drinking water for Central and South Maui and Pa`ia, was finally designated as a state ground water management area. A management change was long overdue. In the face of ever increasing water use, ground water levels were declining, the chloride content of pumped water was increasing and contaminating wells, and there was a continual increase in the level of salt water underlying the fresh water. Designation means that the State Commission on Water Resource Management has taken control of the aquifer out of the Maui County Department of Water Supply's hands, and the Water Commission will now manage the aquifer. This change in management is a direct result of Maui Meadows' petition to designate `Iao, which was filed with the Water Commission in July of 2001.
Now that designation is final, the process for regulating water use in `Iao can begin. "Our agenda was simple: protect the aquifer," explained Jim Williamson, Vice President of Maui Meadows Homeowners Association. "We are also hopeful that there will be a concerted effort by the commission to press for immediate development of alternative sources of water to take the load off of `Iao and its neighboring Waihe`e Aquifer, such as ground and surface water from the Waikapü Aquifer, increased flow from the existing ditch, and fast track development of ground water wells in the far reaches of the Kahakuloa Aquifer," Williamson added.