Maui News

Extreme Drought Continues on Maui and Big Island

May 10, 2013, 9:40 AM HST
* Updated May 13, 9:16 AM
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The Pu'u Mahoe cinder cone, located mauka of the Ulupalakua Ranch Store and Winery along the southern slopes of Haleakala was green with foliage during a recent visit.  The site is home to the Flemming Arboretum and a variety of native and endangered plants. Photo by Wendy Osher.

The Pu’u Mahoe cinder cone, located mauka of the ʻUlupalakua Ranch Store and Winery along the southern slopes of Haleakalā. The site is home to the Flemming Arboretum and a variety of native and endangered plants. Photo by Wendy Osher.

By Wendy Osher

For a second consecutive wet season, areas of Maui remain under “extreme drought” or D3 status, according to an updated Drought Information Statement issued by the National Weather Service.

Areas of Maui identified in the report’s most extreme D3 classification were the southwest slope of Haleakalā including the Kīhei, Kamaʻole, and ʻUlupalakua areas.

The report, prepared by NWS hydrologist Kevin Kodama, states that ʻUlupalakua Ranch just completed its “driest wet season on record,” and “pastures in the existing drought areas, especially in the lower elevations near Kīhei, were de-stocked many months ago.”

Meantime, D2 levels of “severe drought” were reported over the lower slopes of Haleakalā near Kaupō, and the lower elevations of West Maui from Māʻalaea to Kāʻanapali.

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The report notes that the county of Maui Department of Water Supply has maintained a long-standing request for a 10% reduction in water use by both central and south Maui residents.

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On Molokaʻi, a 20% mandatory water restriction was maintained for farmers served by the Kualapuʻu Reservoir due to continued low supply levels, the report stated.

The only other location that continued to show D3 “extreme drought” levels beside Maui was the Big Island of Hawaiʻi, which remained under the classification for a fifth consecutive wet season, according to Kodama.

The next drought statement is scheduled to be issued in June, or sooner if significant changes in drought conditions are reported.

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