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For Immediate Release
April 29, 2020

Board of Water Supply Board Makes Decision on Haiku Stairs - Transfer to City

HONOLULU – The Board of Water Supply’s (BWS) board members, at their April 27, 2020, board meeting Monday night, unanimously passed a motion to transfer ownership of Haiku Stairs and all the land around it to the City and County of Honolulu.

The motion did contain an 18-month timeline for transfer and if conveyance is not concluded in that timeframe, then BWS will commence with removal as stated in the Final Environmental Impact Statement (FEIS).

The conveyance alternative did rise to the top of the consideration set during the EIS process and the City via the Mayor expressed strong support for this option.

Though the COVID-19 Pandemic made it challenging to allow for public input, the BWS offered several opportunities for submitting testimony including video conferencing and calling in. Nearly 40 people testified by phone and 7 came down for the video conferencing. However, the bulk of the testimony came via email: over 3,700 responses from around the world flooded in over the weekend. The majority (over 3,500) supported keeping the stairs and doing some form of managed access. All testimony as well as a video of the meeting will be posted to the BWS website at

BWS Manager Ernest Lau stated, “We are pleased to have our Board make a decision that allows us to move forward and ultimately remove liability from BWS.” Lau continued, “However, as long as we retain ownership, we want to assure the residents of the area that we will continue with our security measures and will continue to work with them to mitigate the negative impacts to their community. I want to be clear that this decision does not mean the stairs are open for business – it is still illegal to climb and trespassers will be cited and prosecuted to the full extent of the law including possible jail time and fines.”

Once the stairs are conveyed to the city, it will be their responsibility to maintain security until an operator is chosen.

For questions regarding the board meeting or Haiku Stairs, please call Kathleen Pahinui at (808) 748-5319.

About the Board of Water Supply

The Board of Water Supply (BWS), a semi-autonomous agency of the City and County of Honolulu, manages Oahu’s municipal water resources and distribution system.  As the largest water utility in the State, the BWS serves approximately one million customers on Oahu.  The BWS embraces its mission of “Water for Life – Ka Wai Ola” – to provide a safe, dependable, and affordable water supply, now and into the future.  Uwē  ka lani, ola ka honua – “When the heavens weep, the earth lives.”  For more information, visit, follow @BWSHonolulu or like the BWS’s Facebook page at



Kathleen Elliott-Pahinui
Information Officer
Honolulu Board of Water Supply
Phone: (808) 748-5319