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Surface-Water Availability, Anahola, Kauai, Hawaii

Project Chief: Chui Ling Cheng
Project Period: October 2010 through December 2012
Cooperator: Hawaii Department of Hawaiian Home Lands
Location: Island of Kauai


The Hawaii Department of Hawaiian Home Lands (DHHL) is considering using an existing agricultural water-distribution system in the Anahola area, Kauai, to provide irrigation water for Native Hawaiian farmers. The existing agricultural water-distribution system was previously used by the Lihue Plantation, which ceased sugarcane cultivation in the area in 1988. Since then, the surface-water intakes, ditches, and tunnels have not received regular maintenance as they had during the period when the plantation was actively cultivating sugarcane in the area. Thus, some parts of the system are no longer in usable condition. To assist with water-resource management decisions, the DHHL has requested the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) to assess the availability of surface water for the existing agricultural water-distribution system.


The objective of this 2.25-year study is to provide information on the availability of surface water for the existing agricultural water-distribution system. This study will not address the loss rates from reservoirs that receive water from or are part of the agricultural water-distribution system.

Relevance and Benefits

The results from this study are necessary for the proper management of the surface waters in the State and, thus, the study is consistent with the mission of the USGS Science Strategy to provide citizens, communities, natural-resource managers, and policymakers with a clearer knowledge of the status of their water resources. This study will provide information useful for setting instream flow standards and estimating the amount of irrigation water available for Native Hawaiian farmers.


The following scope will be used to meet the study objectives: (1) compilation and review of historical discharge records on the hydrologic conditions of Anahola Stream and information on the historical conditions of the ditch system; (2) reconnaissance survey of the stream to identify suitable discharge-measurement sites; (3) seepage analysis of the stream to characterize gains and losses between the measurement sites; (4) discharge measurements at low-flow partial-record sites established upstream from ditch intakes to characterize surface-water availability; and (5) reconnaissance-level aquatic survey in Anahola Stream to determine distribution of native and nonnative aquatic stream fauna. Periodic community meetings will be held to discuss the project scope, opportunities for community participation, and project findings. Data and results of all analyses will be documented and published in the USGS Scientific Investigations Report series and made available on the internet.


USGS staff conducted a reconnaissance survey of Anahola Stream and established four low-flow partial-record sites. Made discharge measurements at low-flow partial-record sites. Conducted seepage analysis, one in the winter and one in the summer months, to characterize gains and losses between the measurement sites. Completed the study.



Cheng, C.L., and Wolff, R.H., 2012, Availability and distribution of low flow in Anahola Stream, Kaua'i, Hawai'i: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2012-5264, 32 p.

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Page Last Modified: Tuesday, 23-Apr-2013 19:36:52 EDT