Windward Mall installs eco-friendly 'rain garden' to reduce water pollution

Mar. 23, 2021

Contributed by Mae Nishimura

Kamehamaha Schools’ Windward Mall in He‘eia is one of the first malls in Hawai‘i to install a rain garden designed to reduce the pollution of nearby streams and the ocean. The project was a partnership between KS and Hui O Ko‘olaupoko, a Kailua-based nonprofit watershed management group aimed at improving water quality.

A rain garden is a deliberately built depression planted with vegetation that allows storm water from impervious surfaces to collect, briefly settle, then infiltrate into the ground.

Rain gardens reduce the amount of pollution entering streams and the ocean by intercepting storm water. They are designed with nature, as they mimic natural processes by treating and infiltrating stormwater into the ground and evaporating it back into the air, much like undeveloped ‘āina.

KS owns the land under Windward Mall and operates the shopping center located in Heʻeia. The mall is home to more than 110 stores and eateries, along with a KS One-Stop-Shop that offers educational program information and helps families with applications for KS admissions, financial aid and more. Revenues generated by Windward Mall support KS’ educational mission.