Effects of Agricultural Land-Use Changes and Rainfall on Ground-Water Recharge in Central and West Maui, Hawai`i, 1926-2004

Scientific Investigations Report 2007-5103
Prepared in cooperation with the Department of Water Supply, Maui
By:  and 



Concern surrounding declines in ground-water levels and an increase in the chloride concentration of water pumped from wells in the Iao aquifer system on the Island of Maui has prompted an investigation into the long-term sustainability of current (2006) and future ground-water withdrawals. As part of this investigation, a water budget for central and west Maui was calculated from which (1) ground-water recharge was estimated for the period 1926-2004 and (2) the effects of agricultural land-use changes and drought were analyzed. Estimated mean ground-water recharge decreased 44 percent from 1979 to 2004 in central and west Maui. Reduction in agricultural irrigation, resulting from more efficient irrigation methods and a reduction in the acreage used for agriculture, is largely responsible for the declining recharge. Recently, periods of lower-than-average rainfall have further reduced recharge. During the period 1926-79, ground-water recharge averaged 693 Mgal/d, irrigation averaged 437 Mgal/d, and rainfall averaged 897 Mgal/d. During the period 2000-04, ground-water recharge averaged 391 Mgal/d, irrigation averaged 237 Mgal/d, and rainfall averaged 796 Mgal/d. Simulations of hypothetical future conditions indicate that a cessation of agriculture in central and west Maui would reduce mean ground-water recharge by 18 percent in comparison with current conditions, assuming that current climatic conditions are the same as the long-term-average conditions during the period 1926-2004. A period of drought identical to that of 1998-2002 would reduce mean recharge by 27 percent. Mean recharge would decrease by 46 percent if this drought were to occur after a cessation of agriculture in central and western Maui. Whereas droughts are transient phenomena, a reduction in agricultural irrigation is likely a permanent condition.

Study Area

Publication type Report
Publication Subtype USGS Numbered Series
Title Effects of Agricultural Land-Use Changes and Rainfall on Ground-Water Recharge in Central and West Maui, Hawai`i, 1926-2004
Series title Scientific Investigations Report
Series number 2007-5103
DOI 10.3133/sir20075103
Edition Version 1.0
Year Published 2007
Language ENGLISH
Publisher Geological Survey (U.S.)
Contributing office(s) Pacific Islands Water Science Center
Description x, 56 p.
Online Only (Y/N) Y
Google Analytic Metrics Metrics page
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