Kailua Reservoir Remains a Flood Threat

KAILUA (KHNL) - The Department of Agriculture says it is evaluating the Kailua Reservoir, and meeting with engineers from numerous agencies to look into its options.

The reservoir overflowed in a heavy downpour Sunday, and threatened dozens of homes nearby. Many were evacuated after hearing the news.

Kim Kalama, who lives below the reservoir's spillway, says last month's dam break on Kauai is in the back of her mind.

"Definitely," she said. "And I'm sure it's on the back of a lot of people's minds."

The massive Ka Loko dam broke in heavy rains March 14th, sending millions of gallons of water downstream. It washed away several homes and seven people. Only three bodies were recovered.

There was no damage, and no injuries in Sunday's downpour in Waimanalo.

"We're hoping for some kind of action before that happens," said Kalama. "And hopefully, the state doesn't jump the gun and do a band aid situation by opening it, by breaching it, and causing a bigger problem later."

Kalama says the people in the neighborhood have taken it upon themselves to maintain the reservoir.

"We're not pointing fingers at nobody," she said. "All we want is some kind of solution, something being done right away."

Kalama says residents lobbied for dam safety inspections and a maintenance program in 2000, with no results.

"All we got was deafening ears," she said. "All they said was, you know what, we're gonna defer this project, as far as the Kailua Reservoir goes, we're gonna abandon it."

Sandra Kunimoto, director of the Department of Agriculture, says public concern is their top priority. She said if anything should happen, state and county civil defense officials are on-call, and ready to respond.