Hauula residents blame state and farm for storm flooding

Hauula residents blame state and farm for storm flooding
Published: Oct. 28, 2014 at 1:21 AM HST|Updated: Oct. 28, 2014 at 9:05 AM HST
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Holly Smith
Holly Smith

HAUULA, OAHU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Holly Smith said a flood on July 20 swamped the bottom level of her two-story Hauula home, and did about $150,000 in damage.

"It wasn't like it was creeping over the wall. It just came through the fence," she said.

Smith said rushing water poured into her Pokiwai Place house and ruined everything.

"The appliances in the house. The appliances outside the house. Books that I managed to rescue from the previous two floods got killed this time," she said.

She believes the primary problem is a blockage in Kaluanui stream down slope of Sacred Falls.

"The actual stream itself has been completely filled in with rocks. We've got photographic evidence of that," she said.

Smith said during heavy rains, that plug forces water outside the stream bed and overflows the waterway next to her home.

"The water just goes and there's nothing to stop it from going," she said.

There's also an 800-acre farm behind her property that belongs to the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints. Smith said over the years workers graded the land to expand farm plots.

"My neighbor and I did tell them you're filling in a stream bed," she said.

Smith thinks that funnels storm runoff directly at her and her neighbors. Her home has been flooded three times since 2006. She said she documented flood damage to 15 properties in her Hauula area from the July episode.

"We want to be good neighbors, but we don't want to live with this anymore," she said.

The state promises to work on Kaluanui but said that won't solve all the flooding issues. The LDS church did not respond to Hawaii News Now's calls and email.

"The secondary issue is for LDS to get back in here and re-open all of these drainage streams because Mother Nature put those streams in there for a reason," Smith said.

She and her neighbors will voice their concerns at a town hall meeting Tuesday night at the Hauula Civic Center. It begins at 6:30 p.m. Officials from the LDS church, the state and the city have been invited.

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