Aug 26, 2019

Honolulu Flood Project May Lose Funding

The project aims to help controlling flooding in the Ala Wai watershed

The project aims to help controlling flooding in the Ala Wai watershed

The Ala Wai project in Honolulu, Hawaii, is in jeopardy, according to Honolulu officials. The city council has warned the $200 million funding could be diverted to other unfunded projects, according to Honolulu Civil Beat. The project aims to help controlling flooding in the Ala Wai watershed, which includes Manoa, Makiki, Palolo and Waikiki, according to Hawaii Public Radio.  

There does seem to be a large amount of federal dollars available. According to Honolulu Civil Beat, congress approved $15 billion in U.S. Army Corps of Engineers emergency construction to repair damages from natural disaster last year. The projects cost under that appropriation, including flood control for the Ala Wai watershed, totaled $13.9 billion as of July 2018.

The Honolulu City Council voted five to three Wednesday, Aug. 21, to back the Ala Wai flooding control project planned by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, although local funding has not been secured, according to Hawaii Public Radio

If the council fails to act before Aug. 30, some $220 million of federal funding for flood control in the state’s most densely populated watershed could be in jeopardy, Mayor Kirk Caldwell and corps officials said. 

“There’s more projects than there’s money appropriated,” Caldwell told the council, according to Honolulu Civil Beat. “Congress has appropriated a lump sum of money, but the number of projects they want to do, there’s not enough money for it.”

Honolulu Mayor Kirk Caldwell said during a council committee meeting that the project will help prevent flooding like what occurred in Manoa in 2004 following heavy rain, according to Hawaii Public Radio

"I went to a place like Pamoa Road, which is below the lower part of the valley, and talked to older Japanese women who almost drowned, hung on the rafters of their homes. And it looked like a war zone," Caldwell said, according to Hawaii Public Radio.

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