Koloa Residents Remain Wary Of Waita Reservoir

Krs Pinkerton
Krs Pinkerton

 (KHNL) One area of concern is Koloa in South Kauai because of the nearly full Waita reservoir just above the town. The people there say they aren't worried about the reservoir.

The Waihohonou stream is flowing again but it wasn't like this yesterday.

"I've seen this road flooded in the past, but I never seen it rush over the bridge like it did last night" said longtime Koloa Resident Krs Pinkerton

Huge piles of debris were pulled from the streambed, clearing the stream and the roads.

"Because these ditches haven't been maintained for a while, they've been neglected, as a result, the water just spilled over and created a huge, big lake. Our property here became like an island" said Erwin Pascual, who has lived in Koloa for 44 years.

People say the stream acts like an overflow for the Waita reservior. Pascual says he's lived in Koloa almost his entire life and this was the first time he had to evacuate.

"When it's time to go, you heed the warning, you just gotta heed the warning and take action"

Peter Tennberg says the water came several feet from his house.

"Hau bush was just collecting all the opala you know, and no place for it to go"

Volunteers with the American Red Cross went house to house to check on damages but didn't find much. And residents hope it stays that way.

"The only threat that I feel that we have is if the drains are not opened up, and the flooding swells, and the water is not able to lower" said Pinkerton.

Officials say only 21 people went to the 3 evacuation shelters across the island, but everyone KHNL talked to said the emergency system has been outstanding. National guardsmen were parked at the end of the street offering help and even giving out their cellphone number, in case of emergency.

Meanwhile, the Waita dam is at it's highest level ever. The high water mark is over 22 feet. Of course anyone living downstream of this massive reservoir are worried it too would give way. Ever since Thursday night reservoir managers have been draining water off into a spillway and it's working.

"The water right now going over spillway 9 inches going over spillway. It's dropped 4 inches since last night" said Adam Killermann, who manages the reservoir.

But the big problem is it's still raining. Water entering the spillway makes it's way into several streams that are already full. Right now the dam remains under constant supervision to prevent the tragedy that occurred at Ka Loko reservoir.