KA LOKO DAM: 1 YEAR LATER
COURTESY STATE DEPT OF TRANSPORTATION
This area of Kuhio Highway at Wailapa Stream has been rebuilt after being damaged by the Ka Loko Dam break. CLICK FOR LARGE
Strict oversight of dams vowed
Damaged Big Isle structures are now undergoing repairs
Top state officials pledged vigilance in a reinvigorated dam-safety program yesterday, using the anniversary of the deadly Ka Loko flood on Kauai to summarize costly lessons learned.
"We are working hard now to ensure that a tragedy such as this does not occur again," said Peter Young, director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
As a result of earthquake damage on Oct. 15, two reservoirs above Waimea on the Big Island have been drained and are undergoing repairs, Young said.
STAR-BULLETIN / APRIL 2006
The Kuhio Highway site withstood flooding and was still being drained three weeks after the March 14, 2006, breach. CLICK FOR LARGE
Inspections of the state's other 134 regulated dams and reservoirs show none poses imminent danger, Young said at a news conference with other Cabinet officers and representatives from the Army Corps of Engineers.
Seven people died March 14, 2006, when the Ka Loko Dam overflowed in heavy rain and breached, sending a powerful torrent of water downstream. The incident has prompted lawsuits, a special investigation by the state attorney general and various dam-safety bills before the Legislature.
STATE INITIATIVES AFTER THE KA LOKO DISASTER
» $5.7 million in repairs to Kuhio Highway, washed out by Ka Loko flood waters.
» $5 million for Department of Land and Natural Resources dam studies.
» Inspections of all 136 regulated dams and some others in cooperation with the Army Corps of Engineers and U.S. Bureau of Reclamation.
» Draining of two Big Isle reservoirs with quake damage, as well as Morita and Kealia reservoirs on Kauai, and repairs to Kailua Reservoir in Waimanalo.
» $1.79 million in emergency loans from the state Department of Agriculture to farmers affected by heavy rains last spring.
» $750,000 contract with Oceanit for updated inventory of regulated dams.
» $750,000 contract to Pacific Disaster Center for models of potential damage from dam breaks.
» Two more dam-safety staffers at DLNR last year and a request for two more this year.
» Training workshops attended by 200 dam owners and operators across the state.