Watershed Prioritization Study

The Board of Water Supply utilized scientific methods to prioritize watersheds on Oahu from a water supply perspective. This effort resulted in identifying the most important watersheds that provide critical sources of fresh water supply, enabling BWS to focus watershed management efforts and funding.

watershed prioritization poster 2013

Makaha Valley Rainfall Canopy Interception Study

A primary goal of the BWS is to ensure an adequate supply of fresh water for current and future generations. In this regard, the capacity of Oahu's watersheds to capture and store precipitation is critical: it is the sole natural source of fresh water supply for the island.

Our BWS Canopy Interception Study attempts to quantify differences in rainfall capture between native and invasive forests found in the Waianae Mountains. This aspect of the water budget of Oahu's watersheds (and of watersheds in general) has not been well-studied.

mahaka valley oahu rainfall canopy interception study poster 2018

Until recently, the only similar research in Hawaii was located in high-elevation "cloud forest" terrain on the island of Hawaii, where fog drip is a primary component of precipitation. Because that research was not representative of the majority of forested areas on Oahu, this study was established as a first step to address Oahu's forests.

Improved understanding of native versus invaded forest rainfall capture on Oahu will further enable BWS to focus watershed management efforts and funding appropriately.

Makaha Valley Biocontrol of Strawberry Guava

The BWS Watershed Program works to ensure an adequate supply of fresh water for current and future generations, by protecting the ability of Oahu's watersheds to capture and store rainfall in the aquifers below. This ability is critical, as rainfall is the sole natural source of fresh water supply for the island.

One of the methods BWS employs to protect the watersheds is to reduce the spread of invasive plant species which are considered to be high water users, taking up rainfall that would otherwise be percolating into the ground and recharging the water supply aquifers.

biocontrol of strawberry guava in mahaka valley

Strawberry guava (Psidium cattleianum) is considered to be one of the most destructive invasive plant species in Hawaii. This species was brought to Hawaii in 1825 for its fruit and ornamental attributes. Due to a lack of natural predators and diseases in Hawaii compared to its native Brazil, the plant has spread rapidly across the islands via both shoots and seeds, replacing many hundreds of thousands of acres of native forest with monotypic stands of the plant. For native forest replaced by strawberry guava, the rainfall lost to groundwater recharge due to this plant, is thought to be around 25 percent of total rainfall.

Ala Wai Watershed Study

The Ala Wai Watershed Study is a joint-agency flood and ecosystem management study lead by the Army Corps of Engineers with State and County involvement. For more information, visit the Army Corps of Engineers' Ala Wai Canal Project page.

koolau ahupuaa

Central Oahu Watershed Study

The Central Oahu Watershed Study was an overview of watershed information pertinent to the area and will be used by the BWS to develop Watershed Management Plans for the Central Oahu and Ewa Development Plan areas, and parts of the Primary Urban Center. Using this overview, resource problems and issues were identified. Potential projects and programs to remediate these issues were then investigated and outlined.

halawa shaft aquifer

West Honolulu Watershed Study

The West Honolulu Watershed Study was a joint study by BWS, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (COE) and the Hawaii State Department of Land and Natural Resources (DLNR) to provide a holistic, comprehensive analysis of watershed data, problems and issues and to conceptualize and describe potential watershed restoration projects and actions. The study area consists of the ahupuaa of Moanalua, Kahauiki, Kalihi, Kapalama, Nuuanu and Pauoa. The area encompasses approximately 33.5 square miles.



Updated: 08/02/2022