Residents of Kihei are fed up with flooding and are demanding a solution

KIHEI (HawaiiNewsNow) – Kihei residents are demanding answers after several catastrophic flooding events last year.

South Kihei Road has been flooded repeatedly for over a year.

Residents and business owners are fed up and say the county’s timeline isn’t fast enough to fix drainage problems here.

“It’s not a question of when we’re going to have the next 100-year flood. It’s just another storm,” Kihai resident Mike Ellering said.

Flooding affected Kihei in December 2021, September 2022, December 2022, and January 2023.

Drone footage of January’s flooding in south Maui shows much of the community under water.

Those who live and work in Kihei say they can’t take it anymore and that the water problem needs to be addressed immediately.

“Every time we have one of these incidents, it’s tens of millions of dollars worth of property damage. And those property owners are frustrated and left scrambling for answers. I want to know that we have a government that will take our short-term solutions and push for long-term solutions,” said AAOA Kihei Kai President Mike Conners.

Final report for Kihei Drainage Master Plan was only confirmed in December. It talks about detention basins, channel improvements and improvements to the Piilani Highway. The term of some reforms is more than five to 20 years.

Residents say they don’t have that much time.

“There is a clear and present public health and safety issue in the county of Maui that poses a risk to first responders and poses a risk to residents and poses a risk to visitors. This will cause property damage and potential environmental damage that will our beaches and shorelines and the marine life that exists here is incredibly immeasurable,” Ellering said.

The plan says some improvements are long-term because it requires coordination between Maui County, other public agencies and private owners. It says that the reconstruction of highways, the relocation of public utilities and the acquisition of land are planned.

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