Within the Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, which was established in 1978, the ground-water flow system is composed of brackish water overlying saltwater. Ground-water levels measured in the Park range from about 1 to 2 feet above mean sea level, and fluctuate daily by about 0.5 to 1.5 feet in response to ocean tides. The brackish water is formed by mixing of seaward flowing fresh ground water with underlying saltwater from the ocean. The major source of fresh ground water is from subsurface flow originating from inland areas to the east of the Park. Ground-water recharge from the direct infiltration of precipitation within the Park area, which has land-surface altitudes less than 100 feet, is small because of low rainfall and high rates of evaporation. Brackish water flowing through the Park ultimately discharges to the fishponds in the Park or to the ocean. The ground water, fishponds, and anchialine ponds in the Park are hydrologically connected; thus, the water levels in the ponds mark the local position of the water table.
Within the Park, ground water near the water table is brackish; measured chloride concentrations of water samples from three exploratory wells in the Park range from 2,610 to 5,910 milligrams per liter. Chromium and copper were detected in water samples from the three wells in the Park and one well upgradient of the Park at concentrations of 1 to 5 micrograms per liter. One semi-volatile organic compound, phenol, was detected in water samples from the three wells in the Park at concentrations between 4 and 10 micrograms per liter.
A regional, two-dimensional (areal), freshwater-saltwater, sharp-interface ground-water flow model was used to simulate the effects of regional withdrawals on ground-water flow within the Park. For average 1978 withdrawal rates, the estimated rate of fresh ground-water discharge to the ocean within the Park is about 6.48 million gallons per day, or about 3 million gallons per day per mile of coastline. Although the coastal discharge within the Park is actually brackish water, the model assumes that freshwater and saltwater do not mix and therefore the model-calculated coastal discharge within the Park is in the form of freshwater discharge.
Model results indicate that ground-water withdrawals in excess of average 1978 withdrawal rates will reduce the rate of freshwater coastal discharge within the Park. Withdrawals from wells directly upgradient of the Park had the greatest effect on the model-calculated freshwater coastal discharge within the Park, whereas withdrawals from wells south of Papa Bay had little effect on the freshwater discharge within the Park. For an increased ground-water withdrawal rate of 56.8 million gallons per day, relative to average 1978 withdrawal rates in the Kona area, model-calculated freshwater coastal discharge within the Park was reduced by about 47 percent.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Ground-Water Resources in Kaloko-Honokohau National Historical Park, Island of Hawaii, and Numerical Simulation of the Effects of Ground-Water Withdrawals