The Ala Wai Canal—From Wetlands to World-Famous Waikiki

by Walter Lum,
Richard Cox,

Document Type: Proceeding Paper

Part of: Irrigation and Drainage


The Ala Wai Canal, a man-made tidal estuary on the island of Oahu, Hawaii, is located about a half mile (0.8 km) landward of Waikiki beach and is two miles (3.2 km) long. As Hawaii's most significant drainage and land reclamation project it has had the greatest economic impact. With the construction of the Ala Wai Canal, mosquito-breeding wetlands were drained and filled to form a resort and an urban community, including recreational facilities. The canal illustrates several principles of drainage and reclamation: perimeter drainage, silt-settlement basin, self-cleaning canal and ocean outlet. Waikiki, from wetlands to world fame, provides $70 million in property taxes, more than a third of the taxes received by the city.

Subject Headings: Canals | Wetlands (fresh water) | Civil engineering landmarks | Recreational facilities | Taxation | Wetlands (coastal) | Land reclamation | Ocean engineering | Hawaii | United States

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