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March 9, 2000
About the Department of Agriculture's Plans at the Kailua
Honolulu - The State
Department of Agriculture (DOA) would like to clarify
information regarding the Kailua Reservoir.
The Kailua Reservoir is
part of the old Waimanalo irrigation system, which has
been abandoned for many years. Due to the deteriorating
condition of the reservoir, the DOA, in consultation with
the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR), has
been working on plans to do a controlled breach of the
Kailua Reservoir dam.
The project planning has
been complicated by multi-agency jurisdictional factors,
with different state departments overseeing different
portions of the old irrigation system. The DOA has
jurisdiction of the reservoir and DLNR has jurisdiction
over some of the area below the reservoir.
RM Towill Corporation is
the planning and construction consultant for the project.
Towill has provided the DOA with a draft Environmental
Assessment (EA), which is currently undergoing a 30-day
public comment period. The public comment period ends on
March 24, 2000.
DOA is providing the
following facts to clear up any misinformation about the
proposal to breach the reservoir's dam:
- The DOA and DLNR
initiated this project at the request of the
- Any discussion of
condemnation procedures is premature because the
project is still in the draft EA phase. Depending
on the recommendation of the EA, there may or may
not be a need for the state to secure easements
in order to restore the runoff to its natural
state. However, the state is not planning to
condemn private property owned by Native
- Towill, the project
contractor, has never advised the DOA against
breaching the dam. A Towill memo dated October
22, 1998 stated Towill's concern that DLNR dam
breach computations only involved flood routing
through the Kailua Reservoir and did not include
assessments of the possible impacts of downstream
flooding. The memo also stated that Towill had
been informed that DLNR has jurisdiction of the
- The draft EA prepared
by Towill found no historical sites in the
In 1992, the DOA
recommended to the Hawaii Historic Places Review
Board that the nomination of the Kailua (Waimanalo)
Ditch System be rejected as a historical place. The
DOA testimony cited that the old irrigation system no
longer possessed historic integrity because the ditch
system has "been greatly modified, in terms of
both their structural components and their
alignments. The Kailua Ditch System has been
completely abandoned and much of it destroyed."
- Until a final EA has
been completed, no action is planned by the DOA.
The public comment period for the draft EA is
still underway. Currently, DLNR is negotiating a
contract for the Waimanalo Valley Drainage Master
Plan that will evaluate flood problem areas in
the valley, including the Kailua Reservoir, and
develop mitigative measures.
"Our main concern is
the effect a breach of the dam may have downstream,"
said James J. Nakatani, Chairperson of the Department of
Agriculture. "We definitely do not want to solve one
problem and create another. The Waimanalo community can
be assured that they will have time to review the plans
and provide their comments and concerns."
For more information,
please call Janelle Saneishi, Public Information Officer,
Department of Agriculture, 973-9560.