Concern over potential effects from construction of the H-3 highway on Oahu, Hawaii, prompted a long-term study of streamflow and suspended-sediment transport at a network of five stream-gaging stations along the highway route. This report presents results for 1983-91, which included pre-construction and construction periods at all stream-gaging stations.
Annual rainfall, streamflow, and suspended-sediment loads were generally higher during construction than before construction. Data collected before and during construction were compared using analysis of covariance to determine whether streamflow and suspended-sediment loads changed significantly during construction after accounting for effects of increased rainfall.
Streamflow at stream-gaging stations was compared with streamflow at an index stream-gaging station unaffected by construction. Streamflow data were divided into low- and high-flow classes, and the two flow classes were analyzed separately. Low flows increased 117 percent during construction at one station. This increase probably was related to the removal of vegetation for highway construction. Low flows decreased 28 percent at another station, probably as a result of increased ground-water withdrawals and highway construction activities. No significant changes in low flows were detected at the other stations, and no significant changes in high flows were detected at any stations.
Suspended-sediment loads increased significantly during construction at three stations. Highway construction contributed between 56 and 76 percent of the suspended-sediment loads measured at these stations during construction. Loads did not change significantly at a station downstream of a reservoir, and loads decreased at a station downstream of a drainage basin that was heavily used for agriculture before construction.
Suspended-sediment concentrations were used to assess compliance with applicable State water-quality standards. State water-quality standards for suspended sediment frequently were exceeded during construction. Standards occasionally were exceeded before construction.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Streamflow and Suspended-Sediment Loads Before and During Highway Construction, North Halawa, Haiku, and Kamooalii Drainage Basins, Oahu, Hawaii, 1983-91