Here are commonly asked questions regarding the Haiku Stairs Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) Process.

Why is BWS undertaking this project and what is the proposed action?

The proposed action is to remove Haiku Stairs as its continued management is not consistent with the BWS mission. Currently, the BWS annually spends approximately $160,000 of water rate funds for security at Haiku Stairs that should otherwise be used to deliver water to its customers. The removal of Haiku Stairs eliminates liability risk for BWS and adjoining ridgeline landowners. As an example, in late April 2016, a swing was illegally installed along Haiku Stairs, which presented potential life endangering consequences. In this case, BWS contracted the removal of the swing at a cost of $23,000 to ratepayers.

Will BWS consider other viable alternatives besides the proposed action?

As a part of the state environmental review process, an Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) will be prepared. The EIS will consider the proposed action along with three alternative scenarios:

  1. Legal Access Alternative. This scenario would require an access easement with agency landowners to define and condition an acceptable hiking trail route, as well as address parking and support facilities. Further, the oversight and implementation of any improvements to or operations and maintenance of the hiking trail and structure would require a separate agreement with a qualified entity that would assume these responsibilities.

    In 2014, Councilmember Anderson convened a Haiku Stairs Working Group consisting of key stakeholders including agencies, adjacent landowners, and community representatives. After considering various access alternatives, the Working Group recommended an access path that would start at the City’s Kaneohe District Park, continue through the Kahuku side of Windward Community College and the DOH Hawaii State Hospital, and end along the DOT H-3 Service Road to the base of the stairs. The EIS will further examine the feasibility of this option.
  2. Conveyance Alternative. This scenario would result in the transfer of the underlying parcel from BWS to a more qualified government entity. Prior to any conveyance, the provision of legal access would still have to be approved before the transfer of authority and ownership could occur.
  3. No action. Haiku Stairs would remain "as-is" with the land and structure remaining under BWS ownership. No improvements would be made, access would remain closed, and concerns of security costs, liability, and risk would remain.

How much will the project cost?

Estimated costs are not known at this time but will be evaluated during the EIS. Cost estimates will evaluate the removal of Haiku Stairs as well as a range of necessary structural improvements if left in place.

What is the estimated schedule and what are the immediate steps for this process?

The schedule to complete the environmental review process is estimated to be 1 year from the issuance of the EIS Preparation Notice (EISPN), which notifies interested parties that a Draft EIS is being prepared. The EISPN will detail the alternatives to be further considered and the studies to be completed. The EISPN is projected to be released in December 2016. A key component throughout the process will be a series of community interactions and meetings to gather input as to viable alternatives.

When are comments due for the preparation of the Environmental Impact Statement (EIS)?

Please submit comments at Comments are due by Tuesday, May 23.

For more information call (808) 523-5866 or email