Special Report { The history and future of the Ala Wai canal.

Part 2

Ala Wai Canal: Oversight Is As Murky As The Water

Oliver Johnson, a 34-year old mortgage broker and surfer from Honolulu lay in Queen’s Medical Center, his body swollen beyond recognition, blisters covering his skin and his left leg amputated above the knee.

A few days earlier, he'd gotten into a bar fight near the Ala Wai Boat Harbor and was either pushed or fell into the dark waters of the harbor.

Unfortunately for Johnson, city officials had just finished diverting 48 million gallons of raw sewage into the Ala Wai Canal after a pipe broke in Waikiki, spewing waste onto the streets of the state’s main ...

Read More

Part 3

Ala Wai Canal: If It Makes You Sick Why Not Shut Down Public Access?

Twain Newhart is about to take off in a one-man kayak on the Ala Wai Canal. He lifts up his leg and points to a black scab.

“It happens all the time,” he says. “It can be bad. It can be really bad. The staph, if it is staph, is the one problem that all paddlers in the Ala Wai face.”

Another paddler displays a deep scar on his hip where an infection had to be drained.

It’s an all too common problem.

Every year, hundreds of canoe racers, from children to adults, paddle out into the murky waters ...

Read More

Part 4

Ala Wai Canal: A $100 Million Problem

What if it rained so hard that the normally gentle streams flowing down the mountain valleys above Waikiki swelled to an angry swirling roar?

Frothy brown water filled with the sediment and trash from hundreds of homes and businesses would surge into the Ala Wai Canal. The canal would soon top its banks and a flood of major proportion would bury Waikiki in a wall of water that could reach five feet high.

The water would move so quickly that people would be knocked off their feet. Basements, parking garages and the lower floors of homes, hotels and high-rises would ...

Read More