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Effects of Groundwater Withdrawal, Injection, and Climate Change on Water Resources at Kaloko-Honokohau, Island of Hawaii

Project Chief: Delwyn S. Oki
Project Period: September 2008 through December 2015
Cooperator: National Park Service
Location: Island of Hawaii

Problem

Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, located on the western coast of the Island of Hawaii, supports a diversity of aquatic habitats. The Park water resources are sustained by, and in the case of the anchialine pools and a large fishpond, are entirely dependent on groundwater discharge. These systems have nationally significant cultural value, and support numerous endemic species including threatened, endangered, and candidate endangered species. High-quality groundwater is essential to maintain these resources, which may be affected by urban development contiguously surrounding the Park.

Objectives

The objectives of this study are to evaluate the effects of selected anthropogenic and natural factors on Park resources. These factors include, (1) groundwater withdrawals from and reverse osmosis concentrate injection into the aquifer in the immediate vicinity of the Park, (2) reduced regional groundwater flow caused by upgradient withdrawals or climate change, and (3) long-term sea-level change.

Relevance and Benefits

The proposed study addresses four of the six science directions identified by the USGS Science Strategy: (1) understanding ecosystems and predicting ecosystem change, (2) climate variability and change, (3) the role of environment and wildlife in human health, and (4) a water census of the United States. Results from the model can be used (1) by the Park to evaluate threats to freshwater animal communities and develop effective management strategies for protection of the biological and water resources and (2) by State regulatory agencies for making management decisions.

Approach

To meet the objective of this study, the USGS will (1) conduct two synoptic water-level surveys, (2) quantify the hydraulic properties of the aquifer, (3) develop a three-dimensional numerical groundwater flow and transport model, and (4) simulate up to three sets of proposed withdrawal scenarios (each set to consist of no more than 6 individual pumping distributions. Results from this study will be published in the USGS Scientific Investigations Report series and made available on the internet.

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Page Last Modified: Wednesday, 18-Jan-2017 18:39:23 EST