DEPARTMENT OF LAND AND NATURAL RESOURCES
|DAVID Y. IGE
For Immediate News Release January 24, 2020
CLEARING UP MISINFORMATION ABOUT THE STATUS OF KAUA‘I’S WAILUA RESERVOIR
(Honolulu) – People have expressed concerns about the future of the Wailua Reservoir, which is part of the East Kaua‘i Irrigation System. Prior to Dec. 31, 2019, the reservoir was under the management of the East Kaua‘i Water Users Cooperative (EKWUC) operating under a DLNR revocable permit. The EKWUC voted against continuation of the RP on Sept. 3rd last year, which resulted in the year-end expiration of the permit.
The irrigation system has now reverted to DLNR’s management with current oversight focused on public health and safety and preserving the viability of the system for future use. This does not include continued delivery of water to various users. DLNR’s current primary objective it to work collaboratively with Kaua‘i legislators to try and find an appropriate public or private entity to assume management and operation of the system.
As a last resort, if a new operator can’t be identified, DLNR will pursue shutting down the system, including breaching the reservoir. The department does not have the resources and expertise to act as a water delivery provider. Additionally, operation by DLNR, would be inconsistent with the department’s mission of protection and management of natural, cultural, recreational and historical resources.
Shutting down the system would be a long-term process, only after significant studies and planning to determine possible impacts. Any shut-down will include engagement from the community and would be subject to approval by the Board of Land and Natural Resources in an open meeting.
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Senior Communications Manager