Low-flow characteristics for streams on the Islands of Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi, State of Hawaiʻi

Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5103

Prepared in cooperation with the State of Hawaiʻi Commission on Water Resource Management, State of Hawaiʻi Department of Hawaiian Home Lands, and Office of Hawaiian Affairs


  • Document: Report (6 MB pdf)
  • Appendixes:
    • Appendix 1 - (29 KB xlsx) Station Numbers, Names, Station Type, Period of Record, and Record Length of Measurement Sites Used in this Study, State of Hawaiʻi.
    • Appendix 2 - (56 KB xlsx) Summary of Record-Augmentation Technique, Regression Equations, and Associated Select Regression Statistics for Natural Low-Flow Duration Estimates at Continuous-Record Streamflow-Gaging Stations and Partial-Record Stations on the Islands of Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi for Base Period 1984–2013.
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Statistical models were developed to estimate natural streamflow under low-flow conditions for streams with existing streamflow data at measurement sites on the Islands of Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi. Streamflow statistics used to describe the low-flow characteristics are flow-duration discharges that are equaled or exceeded between 50 and 95 percent of the time during the 30-year base period 1984–2013. Record-augmentation techniques were applied to develop statistical models relating concurrent streamflow data at the measurement sites and long-term data from nearby continuous-record streamflow-gaging stations that were in operation during the base period and were selected as index stations. Existing data and subsequent low-flow analyses of the available data help to identify streams in under-represented geographic areas and hydrogeologic settings where additional data collection is suggested.

Low-flow duration discharges were estimated for 107 measurement sites (including long-term and short-term continuous-record streamflow-gaging stations, and partial-record stations) and 27 index stations. The adequacy of statistical models was evaluated with correlation coefficients and modified Nash-Sutcliff coefficients of efficiency, and a majority of the low-flow duration-discharge estimates are satisfactory based on these regression statistics.

Molokaʻi and Hawaiʻi have the fewest number of measurement sites (that are not located on ephemeral stream reaches) at which flow-duration discharges were estimated, which can be partially explained by the limited number of index stations available on these islands that could be used for record augmentation. At measurement sites on some tributary streams, low-flow duration discharges could not be estimated because no adequate correlations could be developed with the index stations. These measurement sites are located on streams where duration-discharge estimates are available at long-term stations at other locations on the main stream channel to provide at least some definition of low-flow characteristics on that stream. In terms of general natural streamflow data availability, data are scarce in the leeward areas for all five islands as many leeward streams are dry or have minimal flow. Other under-represented areas include central Oʻahu, central Maui, and southeastern Maui.

Suggested Citation

Cheng, C.L., 2016, Low-flow characteristics for streams on the Islands of Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi, State of Hawaiʻi: U.S. Geological Survey Scientific Investigations Report 2016-5103, 36 p.,

ISSN: 2328-0328 (online)

Study Area

Table of Contents

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Description of the Study Area
  • Data
  • Methods
  • Results and Discussion
  • Additional Data Collection
  • Summary
  • References Cited
  • Appendixes 1-2

Additional publication details

Publication type:
Publication Subtype:
USGS Numbered Series
Low-flow characteristics for streams on the Islands of Kauaʻi, Oʻahu, Molokaʻi, Maui, and Hawaiʻi, State of Hawaiʻi
Series title:
Scientific Investigations Report
Series number:
Year Published:
U.S. Geological Survey
Publisher location:
Reston, VA
Contributing office(s):
Pacific Islands Water Science Center
Report: v, 36 p.; Appendixes 1-2
United States
Other Geospatial:
Hawaiʻi, Kauaʻi, Maui, Molokaʻi, Oʻahu
Online Only (Y/N):
Additional Online Files (Y/N):