Numerical Simulation of Ground-Water Withdrawals in the Southern Lihue Basin, Kauai, Hawaii

Water-Resources Investigations Report 2001-4200

Prepared in cooperation with the County of Kauai Department of Water



Numerical simulations indicate that ground-water withdrawals from the Hanamaulu and Puhi areas of the southern Lihue Basin will result in a decline in water levels and reductions in base flows of streams near proposed new water-supply wells. Most of the changes will be attained within 10 to 20 years of the start of pumping. Except for areas such as Puhi and Kilohana, the freshwater lens in most inland areas of the southern Lihue Basin is thick and model simulations indicate that changes in water level and the position of the freshwater- saltwater interface in response to pumping will be small relative to the present thickness of the freshwater lens. Effects of the proposed withdrawals on streamflow depend on withdrawal rate and proximity of the wells to streams. Placing pumped wells away from streams with low base flow and toward streams with high base flow can reduce the relative effect on individual streams. Simulation of the 0.42-million-gallon-per-day increase in withdrawal projected for 2000 indicates that the resulting changes in water levels and interface position, relative to conditions prior to the withdrawal increase, will be small, and that stream base flow will be reduced by less than 10 percent. Simulation of the 0.83-million-gallon-per-day withdrawal projected for 2010 indicates further thinning of the freshwater lens in the Puhi area, where the lens already may be thin, as well as base-flow reduction in Nawiliwili Stream. Simulation of an alternative distribution of the 0.83-million-gallon-per-day withdrawal indicates that the effects can be reduced by shifting most of the new withdrawal to the Hanamaulu area where the freshwater lens is thicker and stream base flows are greater. Simulation of the 1.16-million-gallon-per-day increase in withdrawal projected for 2020 indicates that if withdrawal is distributed only among Hana-maulu wells 1, 3, and 4, and Puhi well 5A, further thinning of the already-thin freshwater lens in the Puhi area would occur. Such a distribution would also exceed the maximum draft recommended by the water-systems standards used in Hawaii. Another simulation in which part of the 1.16 million gallons per day was distributed among three additional hypothetical wells in the Hanamaulu area showed that the pumping effects could be shifted from the Puhi area to the Hanamaulu area, where the freshwater lens is thicker, but that base flow in Hanamaulu Stream may decrease by as much as 16 percent.

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Numerical Simulation of Ground-Water Withdrawals in the Southern Lihue Basin, Kauai, Hawaii
Series title:
Water-Resources Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s):
Pacific Islands Water Science Center
v, 54 p.