• Thursday, September 20, 2018
  • 80°

Hawaii News

No concern about water levels at Nuuanu dam despite possibility of evacuation, residents say

  • CRAIG T. KOJIMA / CKOJIMA@STARADVERTISER.COM

    “I know they’re taking precautionary measures.”

    Craig Hayashi

    The Country Club Road resident, above, said he wasn’t concerned despite the possibility of an evacuation order

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Craig Hayashi looked over a retaining, rock wall in front of his Nuuanu home Thursday and saw low-level waters flowing in a small stream.

Despite the Honolulu Board of Water Supply saying there was the possibility of an evacuation because of increased water levels at Nuuanu Reservoir No. 1, Hayashi and some area residents said they were not concerned because water was low in narrow streams in their neighborhood down from the dam.

“The water is flowing good,” Hayashi, 63, said.

The Country Club Road resident said the Board of Water Supply had been siphoning water from the reservoir in preparation for Hurricanes Lane and Olivia.

“I know they’re taking precautionary measures,” he said, while a short distance away the sound of pumps could be heard extracting water from the reservoir into storm drains, Waolani Stream and the lower reaches of Nuuanu Stream.

Four water pumps — two from the Board of Water Supply and two from the Honolulu Fire Department — were used to extract excess water from the reservoir.

“Last night, 4 feet of rain came down so fast, the siphons couldn’t keep up with it. That why we brought in the pumpers,” Kathleen Pahinui, Board of Water Supply spokeswoman, said Thursday afternoon.

“We’re going to keep actively pumping as much as possible,” Pahinui said. “It’s important to keep the level down.”

The Board of Water Supply had said there was a possibility of an evacuation of approximately 10,000 residents after a deluge caused by remnants of Olivia increased the water level in the reservoir to approximately 1-1/2 feet from the top of the spillway.

Soon after, officials said the situation was stabilized and that there was no immediate threat of an evacuation. Acting Honolulu Mayor Roy K. Amemiya Jr. stressed in a news release that “at no time today were any of our residents downstream of the dam in any danger.”

Hayashi, who has lived in his home since 1958, said there has never been a threat of a dam breach or an evacuation. “That reservoir has been dormant.”

Firefighters drove around the neighborhood monitoring the water level at Waolani Stream, and the Honolulu Emergency Services Department’s mobile command center was stationed near the entrance of the Oahu Country Club also monitoring the stream.

Pahinui said Board of Water Supply crews actively check all reservoirs in preparation of pending storms, especially during the hurricane season. “We go on high alert with all of our dams. … We’re always monitoring the levels.”

A high wall was built to protect one home on Pahoehoe Place from the waters of Waolani Stream running behind it. A woman, who asked not to be identified, said she’s lived there since 1952 and that there has never been the threat of a dam breach. “Nothing has ever happened.”

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