Kaloko Dam: One Year Later

Peter Young
Peter Young

(KHNL) - Heavy rains on Kauai contributed to the Kaloko Dam Breach, which killed seven people one year ago tomorrow.

On the eve of this solemn anniversary, Governor Lingle promises the state is working to make sure this type of tragedy never happens again.

Since the deadly Kaloko Dam breach, the state inspected every dam in the state twice.

Peter Young of the Department of Land & Natural Resources says, "There's no imminent threat, no imminent dangers from any of the reservoirs based on the inspections that have occured."

Major General Robert Lee, the State Adjutant General, says there is a lot to lean from last years dam breach.

"Oh I think we've learned a lot and that we can't have any kind of lapse in inspections," Lee says.

Officials are also fixing those dams that could provide potential problems, including the Kailua reservoir.

Crews knocked down a wall, widened the stream bed, and installed thousands of these jacks, to control the erosion.

The reservoir breached last April, about two weeks after Kaloko.

Crews are constantly inspecting all of the state's 136 dams.

This is just the beginning of the on-going improvements.

"We are working hard to make sure the tragedy such as this does not occur again," said Young.

The state also enhanced its dam safety program, providing training to all dam owners.

It's gotten more funding, and more staff.

And, officials aren't done.

"We have another request for 2 additional people as well as over $20 million for capitol improvement for the repairs necessary," says Young.

Other improvements include studies on dams, conducting failure simulations, and improving emergency action plans.

Officials maintain that all dams in Hawaii are safe.

And all these changes are to make sure they stay that way.