HONOLULU (KHON2) — A Stage 1 water shortage declaration for Upcountry and West Maui is limiting options for many in the affected areas.

The Maui County Department of Water Supply (DWS) is prohibiting nonessential activities like watering lawns and washing the car — but there are exceptions.

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“You are allowed to water your crops and your trees if it’s your livelihood, if you’re dependent,” said Adam Mundy, DWS administrative officer. “Your food supply and your way of making a living, absolutely, that would be an essential task.”

A Stage 1 shortage means demand in a specific area is expected to surpass the water supply by 1 to 15%. Maui has never gone to Stage 2 or 3, in which case water could be diverted from areas with more supply.

“At that stage in order to divert water, that would be a later stage,” Mundy said. “At this, at the Stage 1, we’re just asking people to, you know, just nonessential.”

Haliimaile resident Harry Donenfeld grows and eats his own food and has a family friend who needs the lawn watered as well.

“Fresh food is always better than anything else and so we try and grow as much fresh food as we can,” Donenfeld said. “I try and grow the grass back here for the goat so that I don’t have to pay for food as much as possible.”

Donenfeld set up a catchment system; He collected 275 gallons of rainwater over the evening of Thursday, June 30. He said he installed the system in part to avoid a phone call or visit from the DWS.

“But more importantly, I’m willing to do my part. If it takes this to make it sustainable on Maui, then I’m happy to set up catchments so that we can keep the neighborhood green and yet not still hopefully put pressure on the system,” Donenfeld said.

Click here to read more about Maui’s Stage 1 water shortage declaration.

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Back on Oahu, the Honolulu Board of Water Supply is still asking customers to reduce their consumption by 10%, through at least summer 2022.