Haiku Stairs Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)


Draft Environmental Impact Statement for Ha‘ikū Stairs will be Published on June 23 in the Environmental Notice


HONOLULU, JUNE 23, 2019 – The Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for Ha‘ikū Stairs will be published on Sunday, June 23 by the Office of Environmental Quality Control in The Environmental Notice.

The Board of Water Supply (BWS) along with their consultant, G70, spent just over two years working on the document.

“The BWS worked hard at evaluating each alternative thoroughly and providing an accessible process for public comment through small groups and public meetings with various agencies, landowners, community organizations, and individuals with an interest in this project,” stated BWS Chief Engineer and Manager, Ernest Lau.

Lau further stated, “The BWS’s mission is to provide O‘ahu residents with a safe, dependable, and affordable water supply. Managing Ha‘ikū  Stairs draws BWS staff, financial, and other resources away from our core mission to efficiently and effectively meet the water demand of our customers. This Draft EIS will help guide the BWS, its Board of Directors and other decision makers and elected officials on the final disposition of the stairs by allowing the public and agencies to weigh in on the alternatives and provide their input.”

BWS along with G70 will be making a presentation to the Kāne‘ohe Neighborhood Board at its Thursday, July 18 meeting at Benjamin Parker Elementary School Cafeteria at 7 p.m.

The links for the four volumes of the DEIS are as follows:

The public will be able to submit comments in writing or through a comment portal set up specifically for this project: http://haikustairseis.commentinput.com/. Comments are due within 45 days of the publication of the DEIS, which would be by Wednesday, August 7, 2019.

For more information about the DEIS and the process, please contact Kathleen Elliott-Pahinui at (808) 748-5319 or kelliott-pahinui@hbws.org.

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Initial Comments for Preparation of Haiku Stairs EIS Due May 23, 2017


HONOLULU, MAY 18, 2017 – The Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS) wants to remind the community that initial comments for the Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice (EISPN) for Haiku Stairs are due Tuesday, May 23. Comments received will help in the drafting of the Environmental Impact Statement. Comments on the EISPN will be accepted in writing only at haikustairs@g70.design.

The EISPN was prepared by BWS consultant G70 and was published in the April 23 issue of the Environmental Notice of the State Office of Environmental and Quality Control.  It is also available for download on the BWS’s website at http://www.boardofwatersupply.com/community/haiku-stairs.

The Draft EIS will explore one proposed action and three alternatives for Haiku Stairs: removing the stairs entirely (proposed action), providing legal access to and from the stairs and improving it for public use, transferring it to another government agency, and taking no action.

Due to the complex nature of this project, the BWS and their consultant will ensure that:

  • The EIS process is conducted in an open and transparent manner;
  • Options will be evaluated for public benefits versus costs associated with each one; and
  • The safety of the public and the BWS’s liability and ability to protect the public in each scenario will be carefully analyzed.

For more information about the EISPN, please contact Jeff Overton of G70 at 523-5866.

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BWS Seeks Stakeholder Feedback for Preparation of Haiku Stairs EIS


HONOLULU, APRIL 24, 2017 – The Honolulu Board of Water Supply (BWS) will be publishing an Environmental Impact Statement Preparation Notice (EISPN) for Haiku Stairs to request public comments that will then be used to prepare the Draft EIS.

The EISPN was prepared by BWS consultant G70 and will be published in the April 23 issue of the Environmental Notice of the State Office of Environmental and Quality Control. It will also be available for download on the BWS's website at boardofwatersupply.com/community/haiku-stairs. Comments on the EISPN will be accepted in writing only at haikustairs@g70.design. All comments are due by Tuesday, May 23. 

The Draft EIS will explore one proposed action and three alternatives to Haiku Stairs: removing the stairs entirely (proposed action), providing legal access to and from the stairs and improving it for public use, transferring it to another government agency, and taking no action.

Due to the complex nature of this project, the BWS and their consultant will ensure that: 

  • The EIS process is conducted in an open and transparent manner;
  • Options will be evaluated for public benefits versus costs associated with each one; and
  • The safety of the public and the BWS's liability and ability to protect the public in each scenario will be carefully analyzed.

"Although the BWS's preference is to remove or transfer the stairs to a government agency to protect the public and eliminate liability to BWS and to our rate payers, it is also important to be open and listen to what the community has to say about these alternatives," said BWS Manager and Chief Engineer Ernest Lau.

"The BWS is committed to evaluating each alternative thoroughly and providing an accessible process for public comment through small-group and public meetings with various agencies, landowners, community organizations, and individuals with an interest in this project," Lau said. "The BWS's mission is to provide Oahu residents with a safe, dependable, and affordable water supply. Managing Haiku Stairs draws BWS staff, financial, and other resources away from our core mission to efficiently and effectively meet the water demaid of our customers."

For more information about the ESIPN, please contact Jeff Overton of G70 at 523-5866.

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About the Haiku Stairs EIS Process


The Haiku Stairs are comprised of 3,922 steps that extend from Haiku Valley (400 feet elevation) to the ridge line of the Koolau Range (2,820 feet elevation) and connects to a trail in Moanalua Valley. The Haiku Stairs resides on Parcel TMK: 4-6-15:011 owned by the City and County of Honolulu Board of Water Supply, but also straddles the ridgelines of adjoining landowners, namely the City and County of Honolulu, the Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) and the Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR).

BWS is conducting a boundary survey to verify the location of the stairs to underlying properties. BWS acquired the vertical portion of the amphitheater shaped Haiku Valley from Bishop Estate as a single lot through condemnation in 1958 for water development purposes. BWS developed the Haiku Well on the Kahuku side of the valley and the H-3 Freeway construction subsequently split it into two parcels, TMK: 4-6-015:001 and 4-6-015:011.


For more information, call (808) 523-5866 or email haikustairs@g70.design


haiku stairs map
Imagery ©2015, DigitalGlobe, Public Laboratory

Project Location:

Haiku, Heeia, Koolaupoko, Oahu, Hawaii

Tax Map Key (TMK):

(1) 4-6-015:011

Land Area:

224.756 acres

State Land Use District:

Conservation District, Protective Subzone

City and County of Honolulu:

Zoning (Land Use Ordinance)
P-1 Preservation

Originally built of wood in the 1940’s by the U.S. Navy to access radio communications antennae facilities along the ridgeline, Haiku Stairs was replaced with stainless steel stair modules in the late 1950’s. In 1975, the U.S. Coast Guard converted the facility into the Omega navigation station until it terminated operations in 1991. Since 1987, the Haiku Stairs has remained closed to the general public due to vandalism and liability concerns.

In 2005, the City refurbished the Haiku Stairs with the intent of formally re-opening it for public use while the City worked to secure legal access. BWS began the process of transferring the Parcel and stairs to the City because water sources were already developed on the Kahuku side of the valley and the City Department of Parks and Recreation (DPR) was poised to take over operation and maintenance responsibilities. Unfortunately, the City Council did not approve the property transfer from BWS to DPR. BWS continues to pay for security to keep trespassers off the stairs and HPD and HFD continue to absorb the costs of trespassing enforcement and rescue operations.

The mission of BWS is to provide safe, dependable and affordable water now and into the future. Maintenance and operations of the Haiku Stairs does not support the BWS mission.

The Haiku Stairs provides scenic vistas of the Koolau and Kaneohe Bay, however, in its current condition, it is a liability for BWS and adjoining ridgeline landowners because of hikers who ignore posted no trespassing signs and continue to illegally climb Haiku Stairs. Risk of injury, harm, or death is a concern. In 2015, BWS began to assess options to either remove the structure or potentially convey the land to another responsible entity to assume ownership of the parcel. This environmental review will formally assess these options and their range of environmental impacts to then inform BWS and the community as to what the future of Haiku Stairs should be.


EIS Process and FAQs | EIS Preparation Notice | EIS Preparation Notice Submittal Letter


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Updated: 05/18/17