News Releases

USACE Explores Path Forward for Ala Wai Flooding

Honolulu DIstrict, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers
Published May 13, 2021
Updated: May 13, 2021

U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) Honolulu District explores proposed path forward for a general reevaluation (GR) study of the Ala Wai Canal Flood Risk Management project.

“The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers solves some of the nation’s toughest challenges,” said Honolulu District Commander and District Engineer Lt. Col. Eric Marshall. “The challenge in Honolulu is unique, and while our team has come up with a design plan that is effective, we continue to work in partnership with the City and County of Honolulu to find an alternate cost-effective means of reducing flood risk.”

“While the design met quality expectations, the revised plan would exceed the current authorization,” said Marshall. “A general reevaluation would provide an opportunity to reevaluate proposed alternative flood risk management measures to ensure we are being responsible stewards of our nation’s infrastructure by finding a solution that is more acceptable to federal, state, and local partners.

“USACE’s mission is to deliver the highest quality service to the nation. USACE is committed to finding an acceptable solution that would reduce flood risk in the Ala Wai watershed community. Not only do we have access to our local skillset, we have the full force of the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and could leverage the experience and expertise of our Centers of Excellence nationwide,” Marshall added.  

The City and County of Honolulu agrees, citing smaller rain events that have recently wreaked havoc on the community.

“Ala Wai isn’t an option, it is a must do,” said Honolulu Mayor Rick Blangiardi. “We have experienced significant impacts from past smaller events such as in 1967, 1988, 2004, and 2018. On a smaller scale, we experience the impacts of flash flooding on a more regular basis. A project with different scope could provide much needed risk reduction in the community.”

A GR study would be undertaken in partnership with the City and County of Honolulu to identify a level of risk reduction that balances cost considerations with community and environmental impacts.

“We have engaged with the community on several occasions and the overall sentiment is that the community wants us to reevaluate alternative solutions,” Marshall said. “This request for a general reevaluation study would empower us to identify a project that is cost-effective, economically justified, technically sound, and environmentally acceptable.”


Honolulu District Public Affairs

Release no. 21-013