Infrastructure

Green Finance

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Green infrastructure is very effective and cost efficient, but in order to provide adequate financing, innovative models are needed to capture its benefits, especially since green infrastructure is often implemented at the landscape level and in multiple distributed projects, as opposed to the conventional grey infrastructure that might consist of a single large project like a dam or a floodwall. Green financing structures should also be fair and incentivize the distributed implementation of green infrastructure on a variety of property types.

In 2015, the HB1325 passed the state legislature, which authorizes counties to charge a “user fee” for creating and maintaining stormwater management systems and infrastructure – a stormwater fee. As of 2018, the City & County of Honolulu has not taken advantage of this authority yet.

The Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration has partnered with the Environment & Climate Change team at Baker McKenzie to explore which green finance tools might be appropriate to help support ongoing and future work in the Ala Wai Watershed.

The AWWC’s Working Group on Policy, Finance, and Infrastructure helps coordinate and connect stakeholders who are working on green finance solutions.

Cover photo credit: Green Infrastructure for Homeowners Manual, City & County of Honolulu, BWS

Design Solutions

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Smart designs can help us create lasting solutions that address flood risk, ecosystem restoration, community livability, and connection to place in an integrated way. Design Challenges can help unlock the creativity in our community and make sure we stay solutions-oriented. Community input in the design process helps ensure that the long-term investment in our infrastructure and our communities meet the needs of residents for generations to come. So mahalo for all the people who participated in the Make the Ala Wai Awesome Design Challenge and don’t hesitate to let us know of your ideas in the Suggestion Box!

In 2016 Nainoa Thompson, president of the PVS, and David Lassner, president of the University of Hawaiʻi, launched the Make the Ala Wai Awesome Design Challenge. The winners were Noelani Elementary School, ʻIolani Middle School, ʻIolani High School, Arizone State University, and the UH Mānoa College of Engineering. Learn more about the winners and finalists here.

The US Army Corps of Engineers Ala Wai Canal Project received funding in July 2018 and will move into the design phase after cost-share agreements with local partners (state and county) are negotiated.

The Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration engaged in the Art + Design + Architecture Panel Series on Resilience hosted by Architects Hawaiʻi Limited and Surfjack Hotel in April 2018.

The Ala Wai Watershed Collaboration submitted a proposal for a workshop on resilience at the November 2018 Design Symposium hosted by the American Institute of Architects (AIA) Honolulu Chapter and State Council, Construction Specifications Institute (CSI) Hawaiʻi, the Hawaiʻi Architectural Foundation, and the UH School of Architecture. This year’s theme is “Building Voices: Livable Cities & Communities”

The AWWC’s Working Group on Policy, Finance, and Infrastructure helps encourage design thinking and works to include the AWWC’s broad goals in design solutions for the watershed.

Cover photo credit: Make the Ala Wai Awesome Design Challenge ASU Team

Green Infrastructure

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In the context of infrastructure that helps reduce flood damage, cleans our watershed, and recharges our groundwater, it is helpful to distinguish between “grey” and “green” infrastructure.

“Grey” infrastructure has caused many problems in the Ala Wai Watershed (channelizing our streams with concrete, paving over the majority of surface area with roads, sidewalks, parking lots, and driveways), but can also be part of the solution (for example dams and retention basins to store flash flood water, pillars to catch debris, flood walls to protect important infrastructure). While grey infrastructure can help reduce flood hazard, it usually does little to improve water quality, recharge the groundwater, or beautify neighborhoods.

“Green” Infrastructure includes a number of infrastructure and landscaping strategies that can be applied across a watershed, many of which are in use in the Ala Wai Watershed to some extent. Below are the seven common types of green infrastructure, sometimes also referred to as “Low Impact Development” (LID) strategies.

1) Rain Garden – a deliberately built depression planted with vegetation that captures excess rain from your helps it soak into the ground. (Photocredit: Hui o Koʻolaupoko)

2) Bioretention – similar to rain gardens, bioretention areas are vegetated ditches that can store and filter rainwater running off from parking lots or other paved surfaces. (photo credit: EPA Water Protection Division, A Handbook for Local Governments)

3) Bioswale – a vegetated channel usually along roads or parking lots. Bioswales have a shallower gradient than conventional drainage ditches, slowing the water down to filter pollutants and allow it to soak into the ground. Deep bioswales, called planter boxes, require more construction, but can be more effective. (photo credit: EPA Water Protection Division, A Handbook for Local Governments)

  

4) Downspout Disconnection – disconnecting your downspout so the rain from your roof/raingutter doesn’t go straight into the storm sewers, but has a chance to filter into the ground in a vegetated area. Ideally, downspouts are connected to raingardens, planter boxes, or bioswales. (photo credit: Green Infrastructure for Homeowners Manual, City & County of Honolulu, BWS)

5) Green Roofs – covering flat roofs with a layer of vegetation (usually 2-6 inches thick) that soaks up rain, filters it, and then evaporates it. Most green roofs are located on industrial facilities or in dense urban areas with little space for other green infrastructure strategies. (photo credit: Green Infrastructure for Homeowners Manual, City & County of Honolulu, BWS)

6) Rain Barrels / Rain Water Harvesting – while rain barrels don’t filter pollutants, they help reduce water use and prevent flooding by storing rainwater on-site and slowing waterflow during high rainfall events. (photo credit: Green Infrastructure for Homeowners Manual, City & County of Honolulu, BWS)

7) Permeable Pavment (Porous Asphalt, Pervious Concrete, Turf Blocks, Permeable Paver Stones) – instead of paving a surface with solid asphalt or concrete, permeable pavement consists of either porous material, or solid material spaced apart to allow water to soak into the ground. This is especially suitable for parking lots, driveways, roadway shoulders, basketball courts etc. (photo credit: Green Infrastructure for Homeowners Manual, City & County of Honolulu, BWS)

8) Natural Green Infrastructure – forests, wetlands, natural streambanks and streambeds serve have the same as green infrastructure (and more). In many ways, green infrastructure seeks to mimic these natural features!

In 2016, the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa commissioned an initial feasibility assessment for an Infrastructure Master Plan which includes proposals for integrated wastewater and drainage systems to withstand a 100-year (1% chance) flood, offer flexibility for quick updates to support a 21st century campus, and achieve net zero water by 2050.

The Department of Facilities Maintenance, Storm Water Quality Branch provides information, resources, and tools on implementing Green Infrastructure, and features various green infrastructure projects in an interactive Atlas created by UH SeaGrant.

The Surfrider Foundation Oʻahu Chapter’s Ocean Friendly Gardens initiative helps create green infrastructure in Honolulu’s urban watershed – check out their map of Ocean Friendly Gardens!

The City of Honolulu runs a Storm Drain Markers volunteer program that supports groups to mark City drainage structures with the messages ‘No Dumping, Drains to Ocean’ at catch basins and ‘Unclutter Gutters, Litter Harms Our Ocean’ along curbs to raises awareness that our rainwater doesn’t get treated – it flows straight into the streams, the Ala Wai Canal and the ocean. Check out their video to learn more!

The preliminary designs of the US Army Corps of Engineers Ala Wai Canal Project include a number of grey infrastructure measures, such as retention dams and basins, and in-stream debris catchment features in Makiki, Pālolo, and Mānoa, a flood berm around the Ala Wai Golf Course, and a flood wall along parts of the Ala Wai Canal.

Sustainable Coastlines is a community non-profit that organizes large scale, hands-on beach cleanups, including the Ala Wai Canal, coordinates marine plastic pollution education programs, and works to implement solutions to catch floating debris through technologies like the SeaBin and Trash Water Wheel.

Current regulation by the City & County’s Department of Planning and Permitting require new buildings to have green infrastructure features capable of capturing a certain amount of rainwater on site.

The City & County’s Department of Facilities Maintenance (DFM) 2016 Stormwater Management Program Plan addresses a range of issues such as green infrastructure maintenance, outreach and education, best practices for construction site runoff, street sweeping, and others that fall in the City’s area of responsibility. Check out their video to learn more!

The AWWC’s Working Group on Policy, Finance, and Infrastructure helps coordinate to raise awareness of the importance of green infrastructure and its maintenance needs.

Cover photo credit: Punahou School Rain Garden, PBR Hawaii & Associates Inc.

Climate Change Planning

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Climate change is impacting Hawaiʻi in many different ways, and the Ala Wai Watershed is no exception. Sea level rise is a threat to the coastal and low-lying areas, changes in rainfall patterns will result in more heavy rain events, while at the same time reducing the average rainfall that recharges our groundwater. Changing weather patterns make hurricanes more intense and their likelihood more difficult to predict. In addition to climate change considerations increasingly featuring in the decision making on infrastructure, long-term planning, and disaster preparedness, there are several initiatives and institutions who specifically address climate change on Oʻahu and in the Ala Wai Watershed.

Check out what your neighborhood or favorite beach looks like if the sea level rises by 6 feet! NOAA’s Sea Level Rise Viewer and PACIOOS’s Hawaiʻi Sea Level Rise Viewer allow you to simulate different scenarios of sea level rise.

The City & County of Honolulu Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency is developing a Resilience Strategy supported by its membership in 100 Resilient Cities, an initiative pioneered by the Rockefeller Foundation.

The City & County of Honolulu Climate Change Commission, which is staffed by the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency, was created in 2016 and is tasked with gathering the latest science and information on climate change impacts to Hawaiʻi and provide advice and recommendations to plan for future climate scenarios.

The State’s Climate Change Mitigation and Adaptation Commission (previously the Interagency Climate Adaptation Committee) was created in 2017 and is tasked with providing direction, facilitation, coordination and planning among state and county agencies, federal agencies, and other partners about climate change mitigation (reduction of greenhouse gases) and climate change resilience and adaptation strategies.

Planning for Climate Change is one of several components to be addressed in the ongoing update of the Primary Urban Center Development Plan (PUC DP) through the City & County’s Department of Planning and Permitting (the Ala Wai Watershed is located in the PUC). The PUC DP was last updated in 2004 and is one of eight Development Plans that help implement the overall Oʻahu General Plan.

Planning for the Ala Wai watershed’s water demand and supply, future water demands, and supply options to meet those demands is addressed in the Board of Water Supply’s Primary Urban Center Watershed Management Plan (PUC WMP), prepared by Townscape Inc. The PUC WMP is a holistic watershed management plan that addresses the health and inter-relationships of land and water resources within the 105 square miles of urban Honolulu. This plan is in the drafting and public input phase and considers the climate impacts of changing rainfall, temperatures, and sea level rise as far out as the year 2100.

Some adaptation measures, in particular to sea level rise, may require adjustments to the City & County’s Land Use Ordinance (LUO).

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was asked to develop the Ala Wai Canal Project to reduce the impacts of a 100-year flood caused by heavy rains overflowing the streams and canal, which will become more likely due to climate change. Although the project was not conceived to address sea level rise, the preliminary designs take into account an intermediate sea level rise scenario of 2.5 feet by 2075 and 4 feet by 2125.

The Waikīkī Beach Special Improvement District Association (WBSIDA) facilitates coordinated management and long-term maintenance of Waikīkī Beach in the face of climate change impacts. Check out their list of ongoing projects, including beach profile and sediment studies, economic studies, and the Department of Land and Natural Resource’s plans to repair or replace the Royal Hawaiian Groin.

More information on partners and ongoing initiatives to plan for hazards related to climate change can be found in the Disaster Resilience and Infrastructure Planning sections.

The AWWC’s Working Group on Policy, Finance, and Infrastructure helps coordinate and raise awareness about how climate change considerations should be included in planning, infrastructure, and disaster preparedness decisions.

Cover photo credit: NOAA Sea Level Rise Viewer

Disaster Resilience

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The Ala Wai Watershed is particularly vulnerable to hurricanes, storm surges from the ocean, and downstream flooding caused by rain, all of which are made worse by climate change. Improving disaster resilience helps communities recover from disasters better and quicker, and reduce our exposure and vulnerability to extreme events where possible.

Classifying Floods: Hurricanes are classified in categories 1-5. Rain floods are classified in for example a “100-year flood” which means we statistically expect a flood of this magnitude to occur only once every 100 years, or have a 1% chance of occurring in any given year. For comparison, NOAA estimated that the 2004 flood in Mānoa was a 50-year (2% chance) flood, and the US Army Corps of Engineers estimates that the Ala Wai Canal has the capacity to contain a 5-year (20% chance) flood before overflowing.

Be Ready Mānoa is a community non-profit that promotes disaster preparedness awareness and planning and organizes workshops to train community members on post disaster coordination. BRM works closely with the City’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM) and was recognized in 2017 as a disaster ready community by the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (HI-EMA) Hazards Awareness and Resiliency Program.

The City & County’s Department of Emergency Management (DEM) provides information on how to volunteer and get trained as a member of a Community Emergency Response Team. Take the Disaster Preparedness Survey!

At the state level, the Hawaiʻi Emergency Management Agency (HIEMA) runs the Hazards Awareness and Resilience Program (HHARP) that helps prepare communities to be self-reliant during and after natural hazard events.

The US Army Corps of Engineers (USACE) was asked to develop the Ala Wai Canal Project to reduce the impacts of a 100-year flood. The project completed the feasibility study and Environmental Impact Statement in May 2017, received $345 million in federal funding in July 2018, and now moves into the design phase.

Are you located in a flood plain? The Federal Emergency Management Agency’s Flood Insurance Rate Maps are accessible through the State Department of Land and Natural Resource’s Flood Hazard Assessment Tool.

The Pacific Risk Management ‘Ohana (PRiMO) is a membership-based platform of more than 100 organizations and individuals with expertise in disaster preparedness and resilience. PRiMO works across the pacific to share best practices through working groups and an annual conference.

The Partnership for Pacific Resilience (PPR) is a private, non-profit organization committed to raising awareness, increasing preparedness, supporting response and recovery, and building resilience for Hawaiʻi’s communities, as well as those in the Pacific through sharing information, expanding training and educational opportunities, and connecting networks.

NOAA’s National Weather Service keeps an archive of extreme weather events in Hawaiʻi.

Check out the coverage of the 2006 flood in Mānoa that caused $85 million damages to the UH campus alone, and coverage of the 2004 rains that caused flooding across the island, including Mānoa, Makiki, and Palolo.

The AWWC’s Working Group on Policy, Finance, and Infrastructure is helping coordinate existing projects and initiatives in the watershed that improve disaster resilience.

Cover photo credit: NOAA National Weather Service

Current Projects

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The AWWC does not support, oppose, or implement infrastructure projects. However, the Working Group on Policy, Finance, and Infrastructure helps coordinate, connect, and update stakeholders who are executing or planning projects, to capture efficiencies and provide alignment with our vision for the watershed where possible. Please find an overview of current projects ongoing or planned in the watershed, and their status:

A routine dredging of the Ala Wai Canal is scheduled for 2019, under the Department of Land and Natural Resources. The scope of work also includes improvements, such as replacement and repairs of some portions of the canal walls. The canal has been dredged three times since it was built in the 1920s: in 1966, 1976, and most recently in 2003. News coverage can be found here.

Before the routine dredging can occur, HECO is scheduled to relocate cables that cross the Canal in early 2019. The cables currently lie on the floor of the Canal and will be replaced by cables 40 feet underground through a directional drilling process. More information can be found here.

Mānoa Stream Improvements at Woodlawn Drive Bridge: The Department of Land and Natural Resources is removing sediment buildup to the existing concrete slab’s elevation. After a brief hold in May 2018 has continued construction activities in June 2018. The scope of work for this project is to dredge the stream starting 40 feet upstream of the Woodlawn Drive Bridge to 400 feet down stream of the bridge.  A grouted rip-rap drop structure will be installed 40 feet upstream of the bridge and the grouted rip-rap 40 feet downstream of the bridge will be repaired to prevent future buildup of sediment under and downstream of the bridge and to restore the flow capacity under the bridge.  The construction duration is estimated to be approximately 9 months. More information can be found here.

The US Army Corps of Engineers Ala Wai Canal Project received funding in July 2018 and would move into the design phase after cost-share agreements with local partners (state and county) are negotiated.

In May 2018, the City & County of Honolulu’s Department of Enterprise Serivces announced its conditional award for enhancements to the Ala Wai Golf Course driving range to Topgolf Hawaiʻi, a partnership of Topgolf USA and local companies The MacNaughton Group and Kobayashi Group. The footprint of the Topgolf Hawaiʻi driving range will be within the current driving range. Topgolf Hawaiʻi is beginning its post-conditional award work with community outreach, sharing its preliminary plans with nearby neighborhood boards and other community stakeholders. Design and construction plans are still in progress, environmental and other studies will be conducted, and no date for construction has been set yet.

The Department of Transportation Services (DTS) Complete Streets Program is pleased to announce an alternative analysis study titled “Ala Pono: An Ala Wai Crossing,” which will evaluate alternatives for additional community access including a new bridge between the neighborhoods of Waikīkī, Ala Moana, and McCully/ Mōʻiliʻili. The primary purpose of the alternatives analysis is to assess the feasibility of providing additional access across the Ala Wai Canal at a location between Ala Moana Boulevard and the Mānoa/Palolo Stream. The new access is intended for pedestrian and bicycle use, with the additional ability to serve emergency purposes.  This alternatives analysis further advances the goals of the city’s Complete Streets principles to create a comprehensive, integrated network of streets that are safe and convenient for all modes of transportation and people of all ages and abilities. The City & County’s Complete Streets Program includes proposals for the University & McCully area and Waikīkī.

The Waikīkī Beach Special Improvement District Association (WBSIDA) facilitates coordinated management and long-term maintenance of Waikīkī Beach. Check out their list of ongoing projects, including beach profile and sediment studies, economic studies, and the Department of Land and Natural Resource’s plans to repair or replace the Royal Hawaiian Groin.

Cover photo credit: UH Mānoa Infrastructure & Water Re-use Master Plan