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Water Resources and Climate Change Adaptation in Hawai'i: Adaptive Tools in the Current Law and Policy Framework

This paper briefly describes Hawai‘i’s water resources, and then identifies troubling patterns of climate change that are already evident in Hawai‘i, including (a) declining rainfall, (b) reduced stream flow, (c) increasing temperature, and (d) rising sea level. Each poses serious consequences for the replenishment and sustainability of groundwater and surface water resources. These worrisome trends are then further compounded by the prospect of other looming impacts related to climate change, such as potential changes in the trade wind regime, the intensity and frequency of drought and storm events, the El Niño-Southern Oscillation, and the Pacific Decadal Oscillation. And even without such climate-related trends and risks, the forecast for rising population and increasing water demand presents a compelling need to carefully manage water resources.
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Publication Date
March 2012