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Army Corps of Engineers Proposes Canal Changes to Prevent Waikiki Flooding

Posted on October 12, 2015

As part of a plan to help prevent flooding in Waikiki, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers is proposing to change the Ala Wai Canal.

Proposed changes were presented on Wednesday at Washington Middle School followed by public comments, KITV-TV reports ( The project would build in-stream debris basins along the Makiki, Manoa and Palolo streams and in open spaces of the urbanized part of Waikiki’s watershed. Four-foot-high floodwalls would also be added on the Ala Wai Canal.

“We’re designing the walls so that people will still have an ability to look into the water with the new paddlers, especially will use the canals on a daily basis, will have the ability to get in and out of the canal without major problems or difficult problems,” said Derek Chow, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

The Corps wants to spend $173 million to complete the project, but no funding has yet been approved.

Officials said it is only a matter of time before the Ala Wai Canal overflows during a severe storm.

One study predicts flooding from the canal could cause as much as $318 million in structural damage.

In 2006, the city temporarily closed Waikiki’s beaches after 48 million gallons of raw sewage poured into the Ala Wai Canal bordering the area’s hotels and condominiums. That spill occurred after a sewage line ruptured following weeks of heavy rains, forcing the city to divert wastewater into the canal.

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