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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Wednesday, December 24, 2003

Reservoir water to be lowered to ideal level

By Gordon Y. K. Pang
Advertiser Capitol Bureau

The state has begun working with Dole Food Co. to lower the water level in Lake Wilson, which has been rising from recent heavy rains.

The reservoir's current water depth is about 80.3 feet above the original streambed. Over the next three to four weeks, that will be reduced gradually to the desired level of 72.5 feet, said Peter Young, director of the Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Water and boating activities are not expected to be affected.

"People just need to realize that when the water comes down, it's on purpose," Young said.

Reducing the water level will allow more water to flow into the reservoir from streams that feed into it.

"It will be easier to contain the water," Young said. "The water is almost full right now."

An added benefit is that remnants of Salvinia molesta now stuck on vegetation along the upper parts of the reservoir will dry off, making it easier to remove.

The fast-growing, noxious weed overtook the lake last year, covering about 95 percent of the 300-acre reservoir and leading to its shutdown in January.

The lake reopened in June after a $1 million cleanup. Maintenance continues on what remains of the weed.

Area residents won't see a sudden or dramatic drop in the lake level. Those living downstream may see water flowing into Kaukonahua Stream.

Reach Gordon Y.K. Pang at gpang@honoluluadvertiser.com or at 525-8070.