New system tracks brown water

By Ashley Moser
Published On: Jun 16 2014 07:10:44 PM HST
Updated On: Jun 16 2014 07:36:32 PM HST

We all know not to swim in brown water, but now we have a better way to figure out where that water's heading Ala Wai.

HONOLULU -

Researchers in Hawaii have come up with a way to track where brown water is heading after a storm.

Click here to watch Ashley Moser's story.

"Everybody I meet says, 'What are you doing getting into that water? You're nuts,'" said Anne Bayly, who cleans the bottom of boats. "It's how I make a living, though."

For Bayly, life is in the water at the Hawaii Yacht Club, whether it's clear or murky.

"It actually affects how I am able to do my job. If I can't have clarity in the water, I'm not going to do a good job," she said.

Bayly said she does a visual check every day before she gets in.

But here are many who don't want to know where brown water is, but where it is heading.

"When it rains, that water picks up whatever is on the land and it's important to know where that brown water is so you can make the decision (of whether) you want to go in or not," said Margaret McManus, professor of oceanography at the University of Hawaii.

In 2007, five sensors were placed along the south shores of Oahu from Ala Moana to Hawaii Kai measuring water temperature, pressure, salinity and clarity.

When the water comes down towards the ala wai, it's tested by one of five sensors. The small sensor sends back electronic signals every four minutes. Those signals are electronically analyzed and turned into data updating their website every 20 minutes.

Researchers said what they found out confirms their hunch.

"Occasionally they will veer over to the east but for the most part they track to the west," McManus said.

That means the brown water is moving away from bustling Waikiki Beach..

But researchers said even with the data, it's still up to the beach-goers and boat cleaners to decide wither to go in or stay out.

Click here for the brown water tracker.

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