If you’ve ever hiked the trail to Pauoa Flats, it is likely you’ve seen the Nuuanu Reservoir right below the lookout. A 20-foot-dilapidated tower and rusted bridge sway ever-so slightly in lush Nuuanu valley; with the exception of a faint echo of cars zipping along the Pali, everything at the reservoir remains still, and there is not a soul in sight.
The reservoir was built in 1910; however, it has been off limits for as long as I can remember. The state used to allow cat fishing here once a year, attracting hundreds of fishing families, my uncle and cousins included; a long line of cars would be parked outside of the gates well before the crack of dawn. Sadly, that program had to be dropped in 2009 due to budget cuts.
It seems these budget cuts also affected routine maintenance of the reservoir, as it continues to crumble away with each passing day. The good news, however, is that the Board of Water Supply plans to do some major repairs to the dam and structure. The goal, according to a Hawaii News Now report, is to keep the water level low, thereby, preventing it from overflowing.
Those familiar with Nuuanu know that this is a very wet area of Oahu. It is almost guaranteed to drizzle at least once or twice during the day because of the surrounding mountains and clouds that bring rain. It is especially important repairs are made before Hawaii’s rainy season (October to January), or I’m afraid to see what becomes of the nearby roadways and homes.
It would be nice if they brought back the cat fishing program once repairs are finished; however, the news report says this will not be likely. I think the state should start a public tour of the reservoir instead, as a way to share this important part of Hawaii’s history with the public.