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Posted on Mar 8, 2021 in Latest Department News, Newsroom

(Kahului) – State and Maui County officials are closely monitoring an earthen dam in the Haiku region of Maui after heavy rain caused water to overtop the dam this afternoon.

The County evacuation map shows approximately 30 parcels or lots below the Kaupakalua Dam, which is at Kaupakalua Gulch about five miles east of the Haiku turnoff on the Hana Highway. Anyone who lives in the vicinity of this dam is asked to evacuate immediately.

The dam’s owner contacted the DLNR dam safety program at around 1:30 p.m. to report extremely heavy rainfall and indicated the spillway was running very high. This initiated a level 2 emergency which means there is potential for failure.  At 2:50p.m. the dam’s owner reported the dam was starting to overtop the embankment. The parcel of land where the Kaupakulua Reservoir is located is owned by East Maui Irrigation, which is half owned by Mahi Pono and A&B.

The Kaupakalua Dam is one of the oldest agricultural dams on Maui. It has a maximum storage capacity of 210 acre feet and can hold 68-million gallons of water. It is 57-feet high and 400-feet long. It’s an earthen dam constructed in 1885.

Heavy rain began in upcountry Maui at mid-morning, and also flooded roads in the Olinda-Makawao area and was punctuated with nearly constant thunder.

Currently, evacuations are underway for everyone in vicinity of Kaupakalua Dam and makai of Kaupakalua Road. People near heavily flowing streams also should evacuate or seek higher ground.

Evacuation shelters are being opened at the Paia Community Center and Hana High School.

Gov. David Ige said, “The state is assisting Maui County as residents and visitors downstream of the Kaupakalua Dam evacuate at this hour. The health and safety of our residents and visitors in Haiku and surrounding areas remain our top priority as heavy rain is posing a potential threat to the dam. The state and county are closely monitoring the situation. Please stay out of the area until the danger has passed and continue to monitor local media for updates.”

Anyone living below the Kaupakalua Dam is asked to evacuate immediately until water levels subside and the integrity of the dam is determined.  More information will be released as it becomes available.

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Map attached

HD video- Heavy rain Olinda/Makawao 

Media Contact: 

Dan Dennison

Senior Communications Manager

(808) 587-0396

[email protected]