New Alternatives Offered For Ala Wai Canal Flooding Plan

Oct 7, 2019

An engineering consulting firm provided new alternatives to a flood management plan for the Ala Wai Canal, officials said.

Oceanit company officials met with residents to offer options to the flood control plan to protect Waikiki and other neighborhoods, The Honolulu Star-Advertiser reported Sunday.

The federal government has offered to fund $220 million of a $345 million Army Corps of Engineers project to construct walls and berms around the canal. The plan would also put flood-control structures in the upper areas of the watershed, officials said.

The community prefers gates, pumps and retractable walls to control canal flooding. Residents also support underground detention basins in upper watershed areas and dryland and wetland plots to dissipate energy and hold flood waters, Oceanit officials said.

The recommendations are based on meetings with 100 interested parties, company officials said.

The Honolulu City Council contracted Oceanit to conduct community outreach and solicit alternatives to the Corps' plan, which has met resistance including protests and a lawsuit filed by the group Protect Our Ala Wai Watersheds.

"We are at the first step," said Sterling Yee, Oceanit director of strategic consulting. "We've got a lot of things to do. In the end what we really want to do is find the common ground."

Other Oceanit suggestions include dredging and cleanup as well as ecosystem restoration such as green infrastructure, water quality improvement, stream maintenance, and repurposed storm water.

Oceanit is not part of the project team and viable alternatives must not cost more than the federal appropriation, a Corps project manager said.

The Corps last week proposed its own revisions and plans to provide public updates in November.