A two-dimensional, finite-difference, ground-water flow model was developed for the central Oahu flow system, which is the largest and most productive ground-water flow system on the island. The model is based on the computer code SHARP which simulates both freshwater and saltwater flow. The ground-water model was developed using average pumping and recharge conditions during the 1950's, which was considered to be a steady-state period. For 1950's conditions, model results indicate that 62 percent (90.1 million gallons per day) of the discharge from the Schofield ground-water area flows southward and the remaining 38 percent (55.2 million gallons per day) of the discharge from Schofield flows northward. Although the contribution of recharge from infiltration of rainfall and irrigation water directly on top of the southern and northern Schofield ground-water dams was included in the model, the distribution of natural discharge from the Schofield ground-water area was estimated exclusive of the recharge on top of the dams.
The model was used to investigate the long-term effects of pumping under future land-use conditions. Future recharge was conservatively estimated by assuming no recharge associated with agricultural activities. Future pumpage used in the model was based on the 1995-allocated rates. Model results indicate that the long-term effect of pumping at the 1995-allocated rates will be a reduction of water levels from present (1995) conditions in all ground-water areas of the central Oahu flow system. In the Schofield ground-water area, model results indicate that water levels could decline about 30 feet from the 1995 water-level altitude of about 275 feet. In the remaining ground-water areas of the central Oahu flow system, water levels may decline from less than 1 foot to as much as 12 feet relative to 1995 water levels. Model results indicate that the bottoms of several existing deep wells in northern and southern Oahu extend below the model-calculated freshwater-saltwater interface location for the future recharge and pumping conditions.
Model results indicate that an additional 10 million gallons per day (beyond the 1995-allocated rates) of freshwater can potentially be developed from northern Oahu. Various distributions of pumping can be used to obtain the additional 10 million gallons per day of water. The quality of the water pumped will be dependent on site-specific factors and cannot be predicted on the basis of model results. If the additional 10 million gallons per day pumpage is restricted to the Kawailoa and Waialua areas, model results indicate that a regional drawdown (relative to the water-level distribution associated with the 1995-allocated pumping rates) of less than 0.6 foot can be maintained in these two areas. The additional pumping, however, would cause salinity increases in water pumped by existing deep wells. In addition, increases in salinity may occur at other wells in areas where the model indicates no significant problem with upconing.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Geohydrology of the Central Oahu, Hawaii, Ground-Water Flow System and Numerical Simulation of the Effects of Additional Pumping