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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, April 4, 2006

State resumes dam inspections

By Eloise Aguiar
Advertiser Windward O'ahu Writer

KANE'OHE The state Department of Land and Natural Resources is forecast to have a week of trade-wind weather to resume its inspection of dams throughout the Islands.

The National Weather Service said conditions are improving and that the state should experience more normal weather, including windward and mauka showers, for the next week.

"It's still slightly unstable," said Derek Wroe, forecaster for the weather service. The low-pressure area that was causing all the problems is still in the neighborhood, but it has weakened, Wroe said. "It does create a potential for isolated and heavy showers, but anything that would occur is expected to be brief."

The dam inspections began yesterday on O'ahu, Maui, Hawai'i and Moloka'i and are expected to take six days. Kaua'i inspections have been completed, with the state finding no serious concerns about imminent danger from any of the reservoirs there, said Peter Young, DLNR chairman.

The Army Corps of Engineers has agreed to help the DLNR. The state is paying the Army Corps about $180,000 for its participation, Young said.

"This (the Army Corps' role) has created an opportunity to get the emergency inspections across the state, and it's also an opportunity for our staff to deal one on one with specialists from across the country," Young said.

Conditions at the Kailua Reservoir in Waimanalo prompted the evacuation of 12 families when its water level topped its spillway Sunday. Janelle Saneishi, spokeswoman for the state Department of Agriculture, said the reservoir is owned by the department but was decommissioned and is no longer in use.

Some 34 people left their homes because of the threat from the reservoir. About 24 spent the night in a Red Cross shelter at Waimanalo District Park, said Maria Lutz, director of disaster services. The shelter closed at 7:30 a.m. yesterday after water levels had dropped and Civil Defense declared the threat had passed, Lutz said.

Agriculture officials met yesterday with with state, city and federal agencies to discuss what to do about the dam, said Sandra Kunimoto, chairwoman of the Department of Agriculture.

"The first concern is public safety," Kunimoto said, adding that no decision has been made about the reservoir.

Reach Eloise Aguiar at eaguiar@honoluluadvertiser.com.

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