Flooding Fears For North Shore Oahu Residents

Dan Gora
Dan Gora
Dr. Pamela Mills-Packo
Dr. Pamela Mills-Packo

(KHNL) - It's a little ironic, that during these dry summer months, it is flooding fears that fill a North Shore community.

But that's the case after ,citizens claim, money to clear their rivers has dried up.

Streams on oahu's north shore are getting smaller. Grass and trees grow where water once flowed, because along with the water coming down from the mountains, dirt and other debris are being washed down as well. "All the streams are clogged with sediment." says University of Hawaii scientist, Dr. Pamela Mills-Packo.

This sediment is staying put because the waterways are no longer being dredged on a regular basis.

And as streams shrink, fears grow, over what will happen during the next heavy rain. "We're going to lose a lot of properties, might be lives too." says life long North Shore resident, Dan Gora.

One example of the problem is the Paki drainage ditch clogged with sediment and growth. There is so much overgrowth that floodwaters would overflow the banks during a downpour.

That ditch is also an example of why many waterways are not cleared. Some sections are owned by the city , state or private citizens, and dredging just one section wouldn't help. So owners wait until everyone works together.

But that waiting could prove disastrous , according to a year long study of the entire Kaiaka Bay watershed. University of Hawaii scientists have determined these clogged streams would wash homes away during days of downpours.

"Its not "IF" its "WHEN". This could be a big disaster waiting to happen, like our Hurricane Katrina." says Mills-Packo.

"I fear for my family, and life in this area here." adds Gora.

Scientists involved in the study are urging the North Shore community to get more involved so future dredging projects can be funded. State and federal agencies echo those sentiments, because dredging is still years away at the earliest.