A lake in Hawaii whose color is as pink as a bubblegum and could compose scenery from a Barbie set, has attracted the attention of several scientists, who are trying to discover why it has this shade.

The staff at Kealia Pond National Wildlife Refuge in Maui has been watching pink water since October 30.

Shelter director Brett Wolfe, speaking to CBS news he claimed to have recently received a report from scientists that “drought may be responsible for the strange hue”.

In fact, they warn the people who flock to see up close the eerie lake with the strange color, not to go inside as well as not to drink water.

Wolfe was concerned that the bright pink could be a sign of an algal bloom, but lab tests found that toxic algae was not causing the color. Instead, an organism called halobacteria may be the culprit.

Halobacteria are a type of ancient or single-celled organisms that thrive in water bodies with high salt levels. Salinity within the Kealia Lake outlet area is currently greater than 70 parts per thousand, which is twice the salinity of seawater.

Wolfe said the lab will need to perform DNA analysis to definitively identify the organism.

Maui’s drought likely contributes to the situation. Normally the Waikapu Stream feeds Lake Kealia and raises the water levels there, but Wolfe said that hasn’t happened in a long time.

When it rains, the stream flows into Kealia’s main pond and then into the outlet area which is now pink. This will reduce the salinity and possibly change the color of the water.

However, it is not the first time that the color of the waters change in lakes and rivers.

In March, the city of Idaho Springs had a mysterious contamination seep into its sewage that turned the lake water a pale pink hue. It turned out to be 20 gallons of concentrated pink paint.

Last year, Rocky Mountain National Park’s Lake Haiyaha suddenly changed colors to a stunning turquoise after a landslide pushed pulverized rock into the lake.

In 2017, residents of a Canadian town woke up one day to find that their tap water had turned hot pink. Officials said it appears a valve may have stuck, allowing potassium permanganate — a common chemical used to treat water — to enter the sump tank and thus the city’s water distribution system. When dissolved in water, the chemical causes a pink tint.

In 2015, residents of several villages in northwestern Spain noticed that the water in their fountains had turned red. The hue was caused by microscopic algae that arrived in recent rainfall.