Ka Loko Report Recommends Changes

Sen. Gary Hooser
Sen. Gary Hooser
Rep. Hermina Morita.
Rep. Hermina Morita.

(KHNL) - State lawmakers said a report on the cause of the Kaloko dam failure will lead to more safety measures in water systems on all the islands.

The study released Tuesday spread the blame for the Kaloko disaster around. But several lawmakers say it clearly demonstrates the state needs to make some changes.

"It could have been stopped by a variety of people, state county, private individuals if people had done their jobs better, a little differently," said Sen. Gary Hooser.

Lawmakers praised the study for identifying the dangers posed by dams and reservoirs statewide.

"It gives up a better understanding of these water systems, what is happening to these water systems," said Rep. Hermina Morita.

The report recommends a series of reforms to improve dam safety and lawmakers said they intend to act quickly.

"It gives us clear guidance and instruction and suggestions to improve our system so we can ensure there will be no more Kaloko type tragedies," said Rep. Marcus Oshiro.

Lawmakers said they're considering changing dam hazard classifications. But the proposed changes don't stop there.

"Increase funding for dam inspections, mandate better education for inspectors at various levels, increase notification of people who live in areas at risk," Hooser said.

As for any civil penalties, some lawmakers said they'll let the courts decide whether the state has any liability.

"I'm more concerned about the people's whose lives were affected," Hooser said. "And if the state, county or private individuals are found by a court of law to be at fault, then they should pay the price."