HONOLULU (KHON2) — Lack of rain and higher than normal temperatures are causing drought conditions across the state. Residents are being asked to conserve water.
Hawaii is in the midst of a severe drought. according to the National Weather Service. While experts said that it’s not unusual to see dry conditions this time of year, what’s occurring isn’t normal.
Board of Water Supply spokesperson Kathleen Pahinui said that the situation is serious.
“The last five months we’ve had below-average rainfall. This summer has been particularly dry, starting in the spring. The last time we had above average rainfall was in March.”
According to the U.S. Drought Monitor, nearly half of the state is dealing with abnormally dry conditions. More than a quarter is facing moderate drought. The situation is severe for 11 percent of the state, and just over two percent is facing extreme drought conditions, where major crop and pasture losses and widespread water shortages are occurring in that area.
Parts of Maui and the west end of Molokai are being hit the hardest, according to National Weather Service senior hydrologist Kevin Kodama.
“This is normally the dry season, but they’ve been getting even less rainfall than they normally receive for this time of year. And as a result, the pastures have been in rather poor condition. And it’s been affecting livestock operations,” Kodama said.
Sumner Erdman, who is the president of Ulupalakua Ranch on Maui, said they’ve lost 40 percent of their production already.
Erdman said that they’ll be dealing with the impacts for years to come and that this drought means customers may see less locally sourced beef a year or two down the road.
“Rainfall grows the grass that we need for the livestock to eat. A drought in the livestock business is something that has rolling ramification that will be two, three, four years out,” Erdman explained.
Wildfires are another huge concern. Dry grass and brush can easily catch fire. There’s already been a number of them in the last few months.
Drought can also affect our water supply.
Pahinui said we don’t have to be worried about that yet.
“Our drinking water supplies are strong, they’re active. But rainfall is important to keep them that way–to keep things going through the system to keep those aquifers full. We figured we’d rather be proactive than reactive.”
Honolulu and Maui County residents are being asked to conserve water.
Here are simple ways to help conserve water:
- Avoid watering your lawn between 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Take Shorter showers
- Don’t let the water run
According to Kodama, we will likely have to deal with dry conditions for at least another month.
“We’re heading into the wet season, but we have a transition to go. We’re still looking at fairly dry conditions over the next few weeks. We’re expecting to have a wetter than average wet season, probably getting into December and early part of 2021 with a transition occurring in the November time frame.”