JUNE 2021

"Adopt the pace of nature:
her secret is patience."

Ralph Waldo Emerson

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KRCA Board of Directors
Homeowners Meeting

June 30, 2021
6:30 – 8:30 pm
Kilauea Neighborhood Center

KRCA has contracted with Hawaiiana Management Company who has a Kalihiwai Ridge website access code of:

Agendas and meeting minutes will be posted on this new site along with all our documents that can now be reviewed by the public.

My Impressions

It is the beginning of the 2021 Summer season and my new trend is to write quarterly as the seasons change up here on the Kalihiwai Reservoir.  The lake is still being kept at a safety drain of about 6 feet while we negotiate with the two new water use easement holders Porter Irrigation, LLC and Common Ground Utilities, LLC what the future will be for the KR.  They want to remove the dam as they say they no longer need this water or facility.  They feel they can get all they need from Stone Dam and the County of Kaua`i Department of Water.  

To illustrate this better for our members of KRCA this map might help put in perspective where these two facilities are to one another.  Stone Dam is fed by three Streams Kahiliholo, Halaulani, and Pohakuhonu and the KR is fed by 4 runoff inlets, an unnamed stream by Lot 8, the Pohakuhonu Stream, and the Kalihiwai Ditch, which used to locally be called the Chinese Ditch as these immigrants who came in the mid to late 1800s built it at the turn of the last century.  The Hanalei Ditch has long been abandoned once the Kilauea Sugar Plantation shut down in 1970 over 50 years ago.  

There is a natural stream bed that runs down through the KR to the dam and there is now water only stored at the North side of the reservoir as the rest of the lake bed land goes to seed.  We used to have a water surface area of about 20-22 acres when at full pool.  Now there is only about 2-4 acres of water surface area.  It creates more of a marshland type space than what used to be a recreational lake.  No fish can live a healthy life here anymore and most of the endangered water birds have flown off to other areas of the island as their habitat here has been so degraded and compromised after three years of this safety drain.

What is the future for the Kalihiwai Reservoir?  Rather than adding another dam removal could we keep it somewhat preserved for future generations and whoever will be the new owner of the Wai Koa Plantation, now up For Sale?  Or will KRCA as a 1/3 owner be forced to remove the dam due to our two water use easement holder partners no longer wanting to repair, operate and insure the facility for their use and benefit of having gravity fed Ag water and more water storage for times of draught.  

It is about the economy of it all, but also what is our big picture community responsibility in the face of our climate change/crisis and what that might mean for the future Ag water needs of Kilauea?  What does the State of Hawaii say about 8-10 dam removals per year and how this is affecting their future planning for our local irrigation water needs as it relates to Kaua`i becoming more sustainable as a County?

If repair could be more equal in cost to removal, and operation and insurance affordable, there could still be a way to Save the KR for future generations and a new owner.  We shall soon see how this all plays out in the months ahead.

Until we meet again.

Maggie Lea

Suggested Readings:
Water Resources and Climate Change Adaptation in Hawai`i: 2012
Reference:  Commission on Water Resource Management
Click here to download PDF file

Koamalu Volumes 1&2
by Ethel M Damon, 1931
A story of pioneers on Kauai and of what they built in that island garden

Sugar Water by Carol Wilcox 1996
Hawaiian & English definitions from the book:
wai - water, blood, passion, life
wai wai - wealth
pani wai - dam
water - transparent, odorless, tasteless, liquid, H2O

Wetland habitat non-invasive plant suggestions:
bacopa, makaloa, carex, aka 'akai, neke
kupukupu, laua'e


Hanalei National Wildlife Refuge

Kauai Forest Birds Recovery Project

Sounds Hawaiian

National Wildlife Federation

Kalihiwai Reservoir is a
Certified Wildlife Habitat

Ducks Unlimited

Fishing Notes

Hawaii Audubon Society

Sierra Club Hawaii

Sufi at the helm of Moe Moku