Kauai police look for vandals of utility’s water diversion site

Photo courtesy Kauai Police Dept.
Photo courtesy Kauai Police Dept.

The Kauai Police Department is asking for the public’s assistance in identifying anyone who may have been involved in vandalizing the Kauai Island Utility Cooperative’s (KIUC) water diversion site on the north fork of the Wailua River.

Photo courtesy Kauai Police Dept.
Photo courtesy Kauai Police Dept.

On October 18, a KIUC contractor discovered severe damage that occurred to its infrastructure. Police believe that sometime between October 11 to October 18, suspects used concrete cutting equipment to destroy part of a concrete diversion, interrupting water flow to a ditch that feeds two of KIUC’s hydro generators.

Concrete debris was allowed to fall into the stream and exposed rebar and metal cables were left by the perpetrators, creating a safety hazard at a recreation site used by the public.

Photo courtesy Kauai Police Dept.
Photo courtesy Kauai Police Dept.

“This incident was a deliberate sabotage of Kauai’s electrical infrastructure,” said KIUC’s Chief Executive Officer David Bissell. “We are working with KPD, the FBI and the community to identify and arrest the perpetrators.”

KIUC holds a state permit which allows the utility to divert water to generate renewable hydroelectric power for its customers. The water then flows back into the stream below the hydro generators. Downstream users include taro, flower, vegetable and fruit farmers, as well as cattle ranchers.

The utility adds that, as a cooperative, members and ratepayers will bear the cost associated with damage, restoration and loss of energy production. Officials continue to assess the cost to repair the damage.

Anyone with information about this incident is urged to call Police Dispatch at 241-1711, or Det. Damien McCallum, 241-1693. Those wishing to remain anonymous can call CrimeStoppers at 246-8300.

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