Dry weather affecting Waimanalo farmers

Dominic Kadooka
Dominic Kadooka

By Sharie Shima - bio | email

WAIMANALO (KHNL) - Our lack of rainfall has crippled produce production for many local farmers.

In this Drought Watch report, we show how the dry weather is affecting farmers in Waimanalo.

The severe drought situation on the windward side has forced farmers to take drastic measures.

"I hear of other people who have plowed down their fields and just given up until this dry season passes," said Waimanalo farmer Dominic Kadooka.

Dominic Kadooka's field shows the parched land many farmers are dealing with.

"As far as production wise, what that equates to is a normal time of year production of 4.5 tons of corn a week right now about one ton a week going out."

The Waimanalo Reservoir provides irrigation water to windward farmers. It has a capacity of up to 40 feet, but has dropped to a critical level of only twelve feet.

"This is an example of malnourished corn that doesn't have any water, softer, the kernels are under developed."

Farmers used to watering their crops seven days a week, are now reduced to only three waterings a week.

Normally on any given day, Kadaooka would have more than 20 acres of corn planted. But because of the drought, he only has an acre and a half ready to go.

The lack of water has forced farmers to come up with alternate ways of watering their fields.

Kadaooka lays a plastic strip along his corn field. It releases small drops of water periodically to keep the roots from drying out.

The water drip method has reduced Kadooka's water usage from 27,000 gallons a week to just over 6,000 gallons a week.