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Low-flow characteristics of streams under natural and diversion conditions, Waipiʻo Valley, Island of Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi

Scientific Investigations Report 2011-5118

Prepared in cooperation with the State of Hawaiʻi Office of Hawaiian Affairs
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Abstract

Over the past 100 years, natural streamflow in Waipiʻo Valley has been reduced by the transfer of water out of the valley by Upper and Lower Hāmākua Ditches. The physical condition and diversion practices along the two ditch systems have varied widely over the years, and as a result, so have their effects on natural streamflow in Waipiʻo Valley. Recent renovation and improvements to Lower Hāmākua Ditch system, along with proposals for its future operation and water-diversion strategies, have unknown implications. The purpose of this report is to quantify the availability of streamflow and to determine the effects of current and proposed diversion strategies on the low-flow hydrology in Waipiʻo Valley. In this report, the low-flow hydrology of Waipiʻo Valley is described in terms of flow-duration statistics. Flow-duration statistics were computed for three locations in the Waipiʻo Valley study area where long-term surface-water gaging stations have been operated. Using a variety of streamflow record-extension techniques, flow-duration statistics were estimated at an additional 13 locations where only few historical data are available or where discharge measurements were made as part of this study. Flow-duration statistics were computed to reflect natural conditions, current (2000-2005) diversion conditions, and proposed future diversion conditions at the 16 locations. At the downstream limit of the study area, on Wailoa Stream at an altitude of 190 feet, a baseline for evaluating the availability of streamflow is provided by computed flow-duration statistics that are representative of natural, no-diversion conditions. At the Wailoa gaging station, 95- and 50-percentile discharges under natural conditions were determined to be 86 and 112 cubic feet per second, respectively. Under 1965-1969 diversion conditions, natural 95- and 50-percentile discharges were reduced by 52 and 53 percent, to 41 and 53 cubic feet per second, respectively. Under current (2000-2005) diversion conditions, natural 95- and 50-percentile discharges were reduced by 21 and 24 percent, to 68 and 85 cubic feet per second, respectively. Under proposed future diversion conditions, natural 95- and 50-percentile discharges would be reduced by 33 and 24 percent, to 58 and 85 cubic feet per second, respectively. Compared to discharges that reflect current (2000-2005) diversion conditions, proposed future diversion conditions would reduce 95-percentile discharges, which are representative of moderate drought levels in the stream, by 15 percent. No change would be expected in 50-percentile discharges, which are representative of normal conditions. The effects of current (2000-2005) and proposed future diversion conditions on the natural flow of streams in the Waipiʻo Valley study area differ, depending on the location. Under current (2000-2005) diversion conditions, reductions in natural 95- or 50-percentile discharges of greater than 30 percent were found in Kawainui Stream downstream from Upper Hamakua Ditch to an altitude of about 1,435 feet and in the reach of Waimā Stream between Upper and Lower Hāmākua Ditches. Under proposed future diversion conditions, reductions in natural 95- or 50-percentile discharges of greater than 30 percent were found in Kawainui Stream downstream from Upper Hamakua Ditch to an altitude of about 1,435 feet, in the reach of Waimā Stream between Upper and Lower Hāmākua Ditches, and along most stream reaches downstream from Lower Hāmākua Ditch, except for Waimā Stream.

Geospatial Extents

Additional Publication Details

Publication type:
Report
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Title:
Low-flow characteristics of streams under natural and diversion conditions, Waipiʻo Valley, Island of Hawaiʻi, Hawaiʻi
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
2011-5118
Year Published:
2012
Language:
English
Publisher:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Pacific Islands Water Science Center
Description:
ix, 80 p.
Country:
United States
City:
Hawai?i
Other Geospatial:
Waipi?o Valley
Datum:
North American Datum 1983
Projection:
Transverse Mercator projection
Scale:
24000
Online Only (Y/N):
Y