The Lahaina Watershed Project was first proposed to USDA Natural Resources Conservation Service by the West Maui Soil & Water Conservation District in 1981. This project was given SWCD’s highest priority because of its impact on public safety, property damage and environmental benefits.

It is not a question of if the floods will come, but a matter of when it will hit. Since 1879, the Lahaina area has been hit by 26 major floods – an average of 1 every 5 years.  The cost for flood damages averages about $700,000 per year. The largest flood occurred in 1960 when 21.7 inches of rain came down in the Kahoma watershed. A total of 36 homes and businesses were flooded, Front Street and Honoapi`ilani Highway overtopped, and the roads were closed.  Damages were estimated at $320,000 in 1960, which today translates between $5 million to $10 million. It is estimated that when the next 100-year storm occurs, the damages would impact 197 residences, 35 condominiums, 157 businesses 2 parks, 2 schools and our main roads in West Maui.

SWCDs is currently seeking $12.7 in funds for the next three phases of the project.