by John Bond
"Water main break hits Kakaako" - A regular news story- but why do these breaks continue to happen?
Few know that Honolulu, called Kou in ancient times, was a Karst village. Karst- is ancient limestone coral reef, and makes up a great deal of the south Oahu shoreline. It is full of underground springs, caves and water channels.
I'olani Palace, made of Karst limestone, has on its grounds the original Karst cave burial site for Hawaiian royalty. Kawaiaha'o Church is also made entirely of large Karst blocks. The rough coral is plainly visible. Kawaiaha'o is named after the ancient Karst spring there.
Large sections of what is today Honolulu was once flooded ponds fed by Karst springs which connected with mauka lava tubes carrying water.Karst makes for an excellent water piping system- until it gets broken- and then it floods.
Kakaako is largely Karst fill - broken up coral chunks with sand.Every time it rains the water washes through the Karst, hits the Karst chunks and sand, and looses up fill around the water and sewer pipes-and they break especially as they age and get corroded. Water is a very powerful force of nature!
Rising sea level would push the fresh water lens even higher, the land will subside, year after year, causing more and more flooding and pipes breaking, year after year. The Kakaako area will become a swamp.
Originally Kakaako was Hawaiian fish ponds. Land developers will try and concrete everything over there, but they cannot escape what is going to continue to happen year after year in Kakaako.
Right now there is a race to see how fast all the future swamp land of Kakaako can be quickly sold and developed before the mainland and foreign real estate investors find out they will be stuck with enormous future expenses as the Karst gets shattered, the land subsides, and the water rises.
Greed and poor planning takes precedence over everything in Hawaii. Like the Ala Wai canal, it is just another big natural disaster in the making as the development of Kakaako gets underway.
PDF: Honolulu's Little Known Karst History
KHON: Water main break closes part of Keawe Street in Kakaako
KITV: Another water main break in front of old CompUSA
SA: Crews fix Kakaako water main break