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Lake Waiau water levels almost back to normal

  • The water area of Lake Waiau was just 15 yards wide Sept. 26. Prior to 2010 the lake occupied the entirety of the now-dry lake bed

    The water area of Lake Waiau was just 15 yards wide Sept. 26. Prior to 2010 the lake occupied the entirety of the now-dry lake bed

KAILUA-KONA >> A lake on Mauna Kea on the Big Island is almost back to normal water levels after a wet winter, state officials said.

West Hawaii Today reported that the Department of Land and Natural Resources has been monitoring water levels at Lake Waiau since last fall, when scientists, visitors and others noted the lake looked more dry than usual.

Ian Cole, a natural area reserve system specialist for the state, said winter rains helped bring the lake’s water level back to about 75 percent full.

Some people were worried the lake wouldn’t be able to recover from four years of low precipitation, Cole said.

It rained enough on the Big Island during the winter to pull the island out of drought, National Weather Service officials said.

"It rained a little more than I was expecting," hydrologist Kevin Kodama said last week. "I was expecting some drought to remain on the Big Island and Maui."

Rain has picked up on the west side of the Big Island, Kodama said.

The 1.7-acre lake saw fluctuations in the area of its surface before 2010, but it began shrinking then, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.

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