New alternatives offered for Hawaii canal flooding plan

HONOLULU — An engineering consulting firm provided new alternatives to a flood management plan for an Oahu canal, officials said.

Oceanit company officials met with residents to offer options to the Ala Wai Canal plan to protect Waikiki and other neighborhoods, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.

The federal government has offered to fund $220 million of a $345 million Army Corps of Engineers project to construct walls and berms around the canal. The plan would also put flood-control structures in the upper areas of the watershed, officials said.

The community prefers gates, pumps and retractable walls to control canal flooding. Residents also support underground detention basins in upper watershed areas and dryland and wetland plots to dissipate energy and hold flood waters, Oceanit officials said.

The recommendations are based on meetings with 100 interested parties, company officials said.

The Honolulu City Council contracted Oceanit to conduct community outreach and solicit alternatives to the Corps’ plan, which has met resistance including protests and a lawsuit filed by the group Protect Our Ala Wai Watersheds.

“We are at the first step,” said Sterling Yee, Oceanit director of strategic consulting. “We’ve got a lot of things to do. In the end what we really want to do is find the common ground.”

Other Oceanit suggestions include dredging and cleanup as well as ecosystem restoration such as green infrastructure, water quality improvement, stream maintenance, and repurposed storm water.

Oceanit is not part of the project team and viable alternatives must not cost more than the federal appropriation, a Corps project manager said.

The Corps last week proposed its own revisions and plans to provide public updates in November.

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Information from: Honolulu Star-Advertiser, http://www.staradvertiser.com

1 Comments
  1. CP Fullington October 7, 2019 5:17 pm Reply

    The Army corps of Engineers has used berms, flood-control gates, channel dredging and “ditching” of waterways all over the USA. Each of these has a history of both failing as flood control and of causing immediate irreversible damage to the ecosystems of these waterways all the way to the headwaters of the waterways involved. “Flood control” by the Corps has destroyed habitat for native species and exacerbated flooding in areas where the Corps’ “solutions” have been applied. After repeated failures of dams, berms and channelization, many Corps built “solutions” have had to be removed – which does not restore the affected ecosystems or replace the structures that the exacerbated, Corps’ caused flooding has destroyed. It’s money ‘down the drain’ … twice.

    The Army Corps of Engineers has incorporated ecological and civic assessment into their proposals, but still favors strategies based on concepts that predate WWII. Getting water **through** and area as rapidly and efficiently, or building dams to detain all ‘excess’ is archaic thinking.

    The Ala Wai is a canal at the lower end only. The “flood control structures” at the upper end of the Ala Wai watershed, if they are like many other Corps built flood gates and impoundments, will NOT eliminate flooding, and if the past is a predictor, have the potential to worsen flooding, and cause permanent damage to this watershed. The Ala Wai – from its sources to the outflow at the Pacific is NOT a California style , urban storm drain. It is a live watercourse.

    The community preferences are for *** gates, pumps and retractable walls to control canal flooding; underground detention basins in upper watershed areas and dryland and wetland plots to dissipate energy and hold flood waters; dredging and cleanup as well as ecosystem restoration such as green infrastructure, water quality improvement, stream maintenance; and repurposed storm water *** as presented by Oceanit . These are forward thinking, ecologically sound solutions to the canal area flooding.

    The Corps thinking on this ?
    : *** ‘Oceanit is not part of the project team and viable alternatives must not cost more than the federal appropriation, a Corps project manager said.’***

    Make Oceanit part of the “project team”! Solicit ways to provide State and public sector funding to augment the Federal appropriation instead of allowing the Corps to use ‘if we don’t do it it won’t happen’ as a covert threat. The Corps doesn’t have to live with the results of flood control management of the Ala Wai as do residents on Oahu. Do not allow the Corps to dictate what happens.


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