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March 7, 2001

Facts About Construction at the Waimanalo Reservoir

Honolulu - The Hawaii Department of Agriculture (HDOA) would like to correct misinformation contained in a news release issued today by the Waimanalo Neighborhood Board No. 32 regarding the Waimanalo Watershed project, which includes improvements to the Waimanalo Reservoir.

  • The improvement project was not "shut down by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers," as stated in the board's news release. The Corps of Engineers was not involved in the work stop order.

    It was HDOA that issued a stop work order to the contractor on March 6, 2001 at the request of Enviro Watch, Inc., which reported that they found charcoal in an area being cleared around the Waimanalo Reservoir. Enviro Watch, Inc. believes that this may be an archeological preservation site, thus the stop work order was issued by HDOA.
  • The Waimanalo Watershed project is a joint effort by HDOA, Department of Land and Natural Resources (State of Hawaii), the Windward Oahu Soil and Water Conservation District, and the U.S. Department of Agriculture Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS). The agreement was dated September 4, 2000 and it was agreed that the estimated cost of the work would total $650,000, half of which would be funded by the State of Hawaii and the other half funded by the NRCS.

    The state's share totaling $325,000, was appropriated for the Waimanalo Irrigation System Drainage Improvements project under Capital Project No. HA0001, as Authorized by Act 91, SLH 1999, Item A-5, as Amended by Act 281, SLH 2000, Item A-5. There was no "diversion of funds from other legislatively authorized projects," as accused in the news release by the Waimanalo Neighborhood Board.

    The federal portion was appropriated by the U.S. Congress in PL83-566 (Watershed Protection Act).

  • The NRCS is the agency primarily responsible for the design and engineering of the work, which would include securing the necessary permits. NRCS reports that the Corps of Engineers notified NRCS that no permits were necessary for the work on the embankment of the reservoir. (Again, the project has not been shut down by the Corps of Engineers.) NRCS reports that because the work being conducted to repair and stabilize the embankment surrounding the reservoir and does not affect the reservoir water itself, the original project environmental studies continue to be valid in the repair project.
  • A total of 34 government agencies and community organizations reviewed the Environmental Impact Statement. This group included the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and the State Department of Land and Natural Resources, which includes the Dam Safety Office, the State Historical Preservation Division and the Aquatic Resources Division.
  • Currently, about 90 farmers utilizing about 600 acres are actively using water from the Waimanalo Reservoir.