The study area lies on the northern flank of the East Maui Volcano (Haleakala) and covers about 129 square miles between the drainage basins of Maliko Gulch to the west and Makapipi Stream to the east. About 989 million gallons per day of rainfall and 176 million gallons per day of fog drip reaches the study area and about 529 million gallons per day enters the ground-water system as recharge. Average annual ground-water withdrawal from wells totals only about 3 million gallons per day; proposed (as of 1998) additional withdrawals total about 18 million gallons per day. Additionally, tunnels and ditches of an extensive irrigation network directly intercept at least 10 million gallons per day of ground water.
The total amount of average annual streamflow in gaged stream subbasins upstream of 1,300 feet altitude is about 255 million gallons per day and the total amount of average annual base flow is about 62 million gallons per day. Six major surface-water diversion systems in the study area have diverted an average of 163 million gallons per day of streamflow (including nearly all base flow of diverted streams) for irrigation and domestic supply in central Maui during 1925-97.
Fresh ground water is found in two main forms. West of Keanae Valley, ground-water flow appears to be dominated by a variably saturated system. A saturated zone in the uppermost rock unit, the Kula Volcanics, is separated from a freshwater lens near sea level by an unsaturated zone in the underlying Honomanu Basalt. East of Keanae Valley, the ground-water system appears to be fully saturated above sea level to altitudes greater than 2,000 feet.
The total average annual streamflow of gaged streams west of Keanae Valley is about 140 million gallons per day at 1,200 feet to 1,300 feet altitude. It is not possible to estimate the total average annual streamflow at the coast. All of the base flow measured in the study area west of Keanae Valley represents ground-water discharge from the high-elevation saturated zone. Total average daily ground-water discharge from the high-elevation saturated zone upstream of 1,200 feet altitude is greater than 38 million gallons per day, all of which is eventually removed from the streams by surface-water diversion systems. Perennial streamflow has been measured at altitudes greater than 3,000 feet in several of the streams. Discharge from the high-elevation saturated zone is persistent even during periods of little rainfall.
The total average annual streamflow of the gaged streams east of Keanae Valley is about 109 million gallons per day at about 1,300 feet altitude. It is not possible to estimate the total average annual streamflow at the coast nor at higher altitudes. All of the base flow measured east of Keanae Valley represents ground-water discharge from the vertically extensive freshwater-lens system. Total average daily ground-water discharge to gaged streams upstream of 1,200 feet altitude is about 27 million gallons per day. About 19 million gallons per day of ground water discharges through the Kula and Hana Volcanics between about 500 feet and 1,300 feet altitude in the gaged stream sub-basins. About 13 million gallons per day of this discharge is in Hanawi Stream. The total ground-water discharge above 500 feet altitude in this part of the study area is greater than 56 million gallons per day.
Additional publication details
USGS Numbered Series
Ground-Water Occurrence and Contribution to Streamflow, Northeast Maui, Hawaii