Maui News

Drought Conditions Continue Over Leeward Maui

June 2, 2011, 12:52 PM HST
* Updated June 20, 8:40 AM
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By Wendy Osher

Moderate drought conditions persists over the leeward slopes of Maui. Photo of dry brush along the Pali section of the Honoapiilani Highway, by Wendy Osher.

Moderate drought conditions continue over the leeward slopes of Maui from Lahaina to Makena and over the western third of Molokai. The updated outlook was released today by Hydrologist Kevin Kodama, with the National Weather Service.

According to the report, pastures and vegetation in Kihei from Kaonoulu to Kamaole have recovered enough to support cattle ranching operations; however, dryness persists over other areas of Maui’s leeward slopes.

The axis deer population on Maui is also being monitored as a factor in the drought report. According to Kodama, forage degradation in the normal range lands was cited as the cause of a reported increase in axis deer encroachments into developed areas near Wailea.

While water supply levels remain sufficient in Upcountry, Maui, the County Department of Water Supply continues a request for 5% reduction in water use for Upcountry residents. A 10% reduction in use by Central and South Maui residents remains in effect.

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On the island of Molokai, drought conditions continue to affect the western third of the island. The state Department of Agriculture has continued a mandatory 30 percent reduction in irrigation water consumption on the island.

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The Big Island saw a slight improvement in drought conditions as a result of rainfall in April and early May. Hydrologists with the National Weather Service say the rain helped to improve a stubborn pocket of extreme drought over the Pohakuloa area of the island.

The improved condition means the Big Island is now free of extreme drought or D3 conditions that were in place since July 7, 2009. D2 or severe drought continues in Kawaihae, with D1 or moderate drought conditions over leeward parts from North Kohala to Ka’u.

*** Supporting information courtesy National Weather Service.

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