News Flash

Water Department

Posted on: August 11, 2023

Unsafe Water Advisory for Upper Kula Water System

Notice: Unsafe Water Advisory Update Upper Kula

September 06, 2023


The Unsafe Water Advisory for Upper Kula is still in effect. The advisory was issued as a precautionary measure due to the unknown impacts of the wildfires in the area. The advisory will be updated as test results are analyzed.


What is Being Done?


  • The Department of Water Supply is in regular consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the State Department of Health (DOH).
  • Maui samples have been prioritized, allowing for more samples to be tested at once.
  • All Water Quality Laboratory personnel have been certified to take volatile organic compound (VOC) sampling.
  • DOH has sent additional samplers to increase the numbers taken and cover more areas simultaneously.
  • In addition to VOC testing, BAC-T testing is routinely being performed.
  • System isolation of fire impacted areas (closing off valves).


The preliminary findings are encouraging, of the tested samples all reported non-detectable, with one (1) exception, trace amounts of xylene were detected, however, well below the Maximum Contaminant Level (MCL) determined by the EPA.



How Do You Decide How to Lift the Advisory?


The decision to lift the advisory will be made based on multiple lines of evidence to include but not limited to:


  • Water Quality Sampling/Testing
  • Water Hydraulics
  • Flushing
  • Elevation
  • Data Analysis


What are the Next Steps?


The Department of Water Supply will:


  • Continue to update as evidence suggests;
  • Continue water quality sampling/testing;
  • Monitor the system once the advisory is lifted through future sampling/testing;
  • Release the test results to the public once a platform is set up to do so.



Failure to follow this advisory could result in illness.


Due to the Upcountry wildfire, some structures in the Upper Kula system were destroyed by the fire, and some areas in the water system lost pressure. These conditions may have caused harmful contaminants, including benzene and other volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), to enter the water system. As a precaution, the State of Hawaii Department of Health, and the County of Maui Department of Water Supply are advising residents of the affected area to NOT USE THE TAP WATER FOR DRINKING AND COOKING UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. 


In addition, residents are advised to:


  • Limit use of hot water
  • Limit shower time/bathing (use lukewarm water and ventilate area)
  • Use a dishwasher to wash dishes and use air dry setting
  • Wash clothing in cold water
  • Avoid using clothes dryers (dry laundry outdoors)
  • Do not take baths
  • Do not use hot tubs or swimming pools
  • Do not use ice from automatic ice makers
  • Use proper ventilation when using water indoors

What should I do?

DO NOT DRINK YOUR TAP WATER – USE ONLY BOTTLED WATER. Bottled water should be used for all drinking (including baby formula and juice), brushing teeth, and making ice and food preparation until further notice

DO NOT TRY AND TREAT THE WATER YOURSELF. Boiling, freezing, filtering, adding chlorine or other disinfectants, or letting water stand will not make the water safe.

Potable water is available at the following locations: 

Copp Road

Kula Lodge

Kula School Cafeteria

Kula Community Center on side of road

Rice Park

Ching Store

Ulupalakua Ranch Store

Please bring a clean water container (5 gallons maximum capacity).


For more information, call:

Water Utility contact: Leonore Amano, Water Microbiologist IV, Upper Kula System, (808) 270-7550, 

This notice is being sent to you by the County of Maui, Department of Water Supply, Upper Kula System, Hawaii Public Water System ID # PWS ID 215. Date Distributed: September 06, 2023.

Please share this information with all other people who receive this water, especially those who may not have received this notice directly (ex. People in apartments, nursing homes, schools, and businesses). This can be done by posting in a public place or distributing copies by hand. 


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