TOPICS: WATER RESOURCES

About the Center

"Smart Building" is the process of designing and constructing a structure while considering how it will interact with its inhabitants and its environment. Is it a nice place to work? Is it an efficient place to work? Does it take ...

April 15, 2014 Pauley Seminar

APRIL 15, 2014 PAULEY SEMINAR Former U.S. Vice President Al Gore Vice President Gore, known for his visionary leadership and decades of work on reducing the harmful impacts of climate change. He will be sharing his insights on renewable energy, ...

Assessing the vulnerability of coastal wastewater infrastructure to climate change

PI: Daniele Spirandelli
This research aimed, with community and agency stakeholders, to identify and map critical factors contributing to wastewater infrastructure vulnerability to a changing climate, particularly sea-level rise and extreme precipitation, and to develop a process that builds adaptive capacity into the system. Results showed groundwater inundation as a significant threat to sewer pipes, and a policy gap analysis identified discontinuities in key components of Hawaiʻi’s current onsite management program between land-use planning efforts and state siting regulations.

Cesspools in Paradise

by Helen RaineWe take the humble toilet for granted, rarely stopping to think about where all that waste goes. But in Hawai‘i, the reality for thousands of residents is that the plumbing leads straight to a big hole in the ...

Collaborative investigation of hydraulic and geochemical connectivity between wastewater and land-use and the oceanic waters of Kāneʻohe Bay, Oʻahu

PI: Craig Glenn
This project examined the environmental and health risks of wastewater leakage from on-site sewage disposal systems, by assessing the hydraulic and geochemical connectivity between wastewaters and ocean waters of Kāneʻohe Bay using field studies and pioneering thermal infrared imaging mounted on unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The remote sensing enabled the team to produce high-resolution maps of groundwater and wastewater leakage from local septic systems into waters of the Kahaluʻu watershed and Kānaʻohe Bay. A local-scale model was developed from sixteen months of data that will help inform remediation strategies to address wastewater leakage problems in the area.

Collaborative investigation of hydraulic and geochemical connectivity between wastewaters and other land-uses and the ocean waters of Waialua Bay, Oʻahu

PI: Craig Glenn
This project assesses the hydraulic and geochemical connectivity between on-site sewage disposal system wastewaters and the oceanic waters around the greater Waialua Bay area, Oʻahu, to help develop a more complete understanding of the environmental and health risks of wastewater leakage.

Collaborative Study of Groundwater Transport Paths and Discharge Loads of Wastewaters and Other Land-Uses that Impact the Ewa Coastal Zones of West Oʻahu

PI: Craig Glenn
On-site sewage disposal systems threaten groundwater quality via the release of untreated sewage effluent to the environment. This work plans to use remote sensing techniques with field studies to establish groundwater flow paths and contaminant transport around Ewa Beach, Oʻahu, to aid in future remediation strategizing.

Differentiating treated and untreated wastewater contamination in a tropical coastal community using microbial community genomics

PI: Craig Nelson
There is growing concern that coastal ecosystems are threatened by sewage contamination of groundwaters. Using genomic methods, this project will examine the bacterial populations in the Keaukaha area of Hawaiʻi Island, to differentiate sources of contamination, and aid in management efforts to ameliorate sewage leakage.

Economic activity, technological progress, and water resource utilization on Oʻahu

PI: Peter Fuleky
These researchers are developing summary measures of economic conditions in various industries (especially tourism, health care, food, and agriculture) to establish the levels of dependency on the state’s limited water resources and likely future demand under various scenarios of economic, technological, and population change.

Enabling real-time predictive modeling of microbial pathogen risk along the Honolulu shoreline

PI: Craig Nelson
This project generates a real-time predictive model of microbial pathogen risk for the south shore of Oʻahu, an area with some of the highest instances of recreational waterborne disease in the U.S. Ideally, the model will be easily applied and interpreted by health agencies for the benefit of the general public.

External Websites

Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management Home The Environmental Protection Agency site on Green Infrastructure. This site contains information to help you build and learn about national partnerships.The National Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) Network is a collection of outreach ...

Glossary

Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management Home A, B, C, D, E, F, G, H, I, J, K, L, M, N, O, P, Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y, Z A An aquifer is a formation, group of formations, or part ...

Green Infrastructure Practices

Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management Home Green infrastructures have a lot of benefits and can be implemented during construction or as retrofits. On this page you can browse summaries on green infrastructures practices. Rain Garden/Bioretention Area Bioswale Permeable Pavements Flow-Through ...

Identifying hot spots of sewage pollution in Hilo, Hawaiʻi

PI: Tracy Wiegner
Hawaiʻi banned new cesspools in 2015, but groundwater contamination from the remaining 8700 cesspools in the Hilo area is a continuing concern. This work will use dye tracer studies to track cesspool outflows and use sewage indicators to establish contaminant sources to coastal groundwaters to inform future management decisions.

Ka Pili Kai Fall 2016

Center of Excellence: Coastal and Climate Science and Resilience Center of Excellence: Marine Science Education Center of Excellence: Smart Building and Community Design Center of Excellence: Sustainable Coastal Tourism Institute of Hawaiian Language Research and Translation To address the needs, ...

Ka Pili Kai Ho‘oilo 2018

Click on the cover image to view the full issue. Welcome to our inaugural issue of the new Ka Pili Kai! Embracing knowledge from generations past and present: For our dedicated readers who have been receiving and reading our quarterly ...

Ka Pili Kai Kau 2019

Click on the cover image to view the full issue. Ola I Ka Wai Water is Life The myriad issues surrounding water – water rights and law, water availability, changing climate and rainfall patterns, and understanding our aquifers in Hawai‘i ...

Ka Pili Kai Spring 2016

Humpback Whale Vocal Communications Between Mothers and Calves Wastewater’s Influence on Coastal Groundwater Quality and the Health of Coral Reefs in Maunalua Bay, O‘ahu Attack of the Drones: Characterizing Groundwater Discharge on Maui Using the Latest Research Tools Simulating Sea-Level ...

Ka Pili Kai Summer 2016

Hawai‘i ’s Water Resources Submarine Groundwater Discharge Water Resources Research Center Highlight: Dr. Aly El-Kadi UH Water Resources Research Center and Sea Grant Partner on $20 M Water Sustainability Project Increasing Access to Safe Drinking Water on Hawai‘i Island The ...

Ka Pili Kai Winter 2016

50 Years of Putting Science to Work for Coastal Communities O‘ahu Maui Hawai‘i Island Kaua‘i Pacific Region 50 Years of Putting Science to Work for Coastal Communities In 1966 President Lyndon Johnson signed The National Sea Grant College and Program ...

Mapping the Freshwater of Hawaiʻi

In this episode, we learn how scientists use chemical signatures to track the flow of freshwater underground and into the ocean as part of the ‘Ike Wai project’s work to map and model the aquifer system of underground, stored freshwater ...

Oceans of Opportunity for Hawai‘i’s Future

by Cary DeringerHawai‘i, an ocean-bound state, is just beginning to discover the myriad ways the sea can counteract increasing energy demands, dwindling fresh water supplies, and worsening food shortages. To see for yourself, visit Keāhole Point on the west coast ...

Ola I Ka Wai Water is Life

by Lurline Wailana McGregorI ka wā kahiko (in ancient times), before western contact in Hawaiʻi, there was no such thing as private ownership of the land or water or any other natural resource that gave life to the people. Such ...

Ongoing Projects

Campus Spatial Survey and Integrated Planning Light Pollution in Hawaiʻi Delamping Initiative Forest City Military Community Energy Efficiency Monitoring Kuykendall Hall Water Resources Working Group ...

Podcast #1: Waterworks

Dr. Peter Fuleky and Sisi Zhang are conducting an innovative study to identify the relationship between economic conditions in different sectors (tourism, health, agriculture, etc.) and the state’s limited water resources. Read more about their project here ...

Podcast #13: Waialua Wastewater

Jordan Mason and Lucas Ellison work with Dr. Craig Glenn using drones to explore possible pollution of Waialua Bay from local on-site sewage disposal systems leaking into groundwater that flows to the bay. Read more about their project here ...

Podcast #3: Pathogen Investigation

Dr. Craig Nelson and Jessica Bullington tackle the issue of bacterial pathogens in the Ala Wai Canal, developing a model to determine the risks of infection along the canal and offshore. Read more about their project here ...

Podcast #3: Urban understandings and changing coasts

Meet Dr. Daniele Spirandelli and Theresa Dean and delve into the vulnerability of Hawaiʻi's wastewater infrastructure to a changing climate. Read more about their project here ...

Podcast #4: Is it freshwater or saltwater?

Meet Dr. Henrietta Dulai and Trista McKenzie and learn about their efforts to map submarine groundwater discharge (SGD) into Kāneʻohe Bay to measure the nutrient flow from groundwater compared with streams. Read more about their project here ...

Podcast #5: The two-to-three-day rule

Meet Dr. Craig Nelson and Krissy Remple and hear about their attempts to develop a new rapid, cost-effective tool to determine water quality where groundwater contamination might occur. Read more about their project here ...

Podcast #7: Hawaiian water

Meet Dr. Michael Roberts and Nathan DeMaagd and discover the intricacies of the economics of shifting water demands in the face of climate change. Read more about their project here ...

Predicting Hawaiʻi water demand under climate change

PI: Michael Roberts
This project studied how climate change may affect future water demand on Oʻahu, focusing on variations in temperature, precipitation, and prevailing climatic conditions. Results imply that microclimates play an important role in demand, with the hot and dry area households using typically 100 gallons more per day than those in cooler, wetter aras. Using water billing data cross-referenced with fine-scale weather data, a model was developed that estimates the growth of Oʻahu aquifer yields needed to satisfy possible shifts in demand (up to 50% increase) under different climate scenarios, or alternatively, the price increases necessary to limit consumption levels.

Quality and Quanitity

Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management Home Strategically placed Green Infrastructure (GI) Best Management Practices (BMP) can go a long way towards managing stormwater runoff from a water quality and flood mitigation perspective. As the development of urban and residential areas ...

Rainwater Catchment Project

What is Rainwater Catchment? Rainwater catchment is the capture of rainwater, most commonly in barrels or tanks, for household, landscape or commercial use. With proper design, maintenance and water treatment, a rainwater catchment system can provide water that is free ...

Rapid Response: Application of a qPCR-based test for Enterococci as a rapid beach management tool in Hawaiʻi

PI: Marek Kirs
The goal of this project was to design a rapid, simple, molecular-based water quality test that authorities can easily apply on Hawaiian beaches to increase hazard resilience of coastal communities. Standard coastal water quality testing techniques require 24-48 hours of culturing Enterococci bacteria, which often gives falsely high readings in Hawaiʻi from environmental sources. This newly developed method uses a specifically human-sewage-borne pathogen, Bacteroides, detected by rapid molecular tests, and is proving to give efficient and accurate detection of contamination to provide more timely notice and better protect public health.

Renewing Community with Stacy Sproat-Beck

by Lurline Wailana McGregorStacy Sproat-Beck was raised in Kalihiwai, a small village between Kilauea and Hanalei on the North Shore of Kauaʻi. “It was an idyllic childhood of hukilau, farming, roaming the mountains, and swimming in the stream in what ...

Rising Oceans, Disappearing Waters

by Josh McDanielThe 29 atolls and five low islands of the Republic of the Marshall Islands are distinctive in both their remoteness in the central-western Pacific and the seeming precariousness of the impossibly tiny slivers of land that make up ...

Source tracking coastal groundwater and runoff contamination with microbial genomics and dissolved organic fluorometry

PI: Craig Nelson
This project focused on using new techniques of microbial genomics and fluorescent characterization of organic matter to track sources of groundwater contamination in several important Hawaiian watersheds, in order to provide tools to protect streams, groundwater, and coastal ecosystems. The high density of cesspools in Hawaiʻi is a potentially significant source of contamination to streams and coral reefs, but it is currently prohibitive to identify contamination sources. For this project, hundreds of water samples from Oʻahu, Maui, and Hawaiʻi have been collected and are being characterized to develop microbial source tracking and better testing techniques.

Testing Freshwater

We’re working with Hawai'i Sea Grant researchers and graduate students to examine the water quality of freshwater as it heads to the ocean. Freshwater travels in streams and underground, picking up pollution from our cesspools and agricultural run-off. We take ...

The Next Long Drought

by Natasha VizcarraIn the ʻŌlaʻa rainforest of Hawaiʻi Volcanoes National Park, mist hangs in the air. Bright red blooms of ʻhiʻa trees mix in the canopy with ʻlapa trees that shimmer in the breeze. Underneath, towering fronds of the hāpu‘u ...

The role of surface and groundwater inputs in driving water quality in Kāneʻohe Bay, Oʻahu

PI: Henrietta Dulai
The goal of this project was to identify submarine groundwater discharge locations and quantify groundwater and its derived nutrient flow into Kāneʻohe Bay, particularly as it varies with wet and dry seasonal cycles. The researchers found that most freshwater in nearby coral reefs derives from streams during the wet season, but during the dry season, input from groundwater increases 150%. These results have led to maps with quantification of groundwater discharge, and measurements of nutrient fluxes have identified several watershed hotspots of wastewater contamination.

Tools and Resources

Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management Home The Hawaiʻi LID Atlas is a collection of alternative stormwater management practices currently installed across the state. The Atlas is hosted by the National Nonpoint Education for Municipal Officials (NEMO) Network and the University ...

Tracking groundwater nutrients using novel tracers to inform coastal watershed management in South Kohala, Hawaiʻi

PI: Henrietta Dulai
Using a combination of nitrogen isotopes and microcontaminants as source tracers, this project aims to identify pathways of groundwater flow to the coastline along South Kohala, Hawaiʻi, tracing sources of groundwater contaminants and excess nutrients. Managers can use results to improve wastewater management and improve coral reef resilience.

Translating Hawaiian Newspapers

In this episode, we’re learning about the translation of Hawaiian Language Newspapers from the 1800s and 1900s. We take a look at the University of Hawai‘i Institute for Hawaiian Language Research and Translation with Dr. Puakea Nogelmeier and his team, ...

What is Green Infrastructure for Stormwater Management?

Hawai'i's Sea Grant's Center for Smart Building and Community Design (SBCD) began this site with the goal of educating a wide range of community members on the benefits and uses of green infrastructure (GI). Community planners across the nation have ...

Xeriscaping Conserving Water One Garden at a Time

by Jackie DudockFrom Denver to Honolulu In 1981, inspired by a passion for water conservation and public education, a special task force of the Denver Water Department, Associated Landscape Contractors of Colorado, and Colorado State University kicked-off what became a ...