Discussions during the initial Pacific Assessment and the 2005-2006 Climate and Society Needs Assessments Workshops recommended exploration of climate vulnerability in several Pacific Island contexts, one of the most important being access to fresh water. Surface water is limited or non-existent on Pacific Islands, if it exists at all, and aquifers are small and fragile, threatened by increasing demand and salt-water intrusion. When fresh water supplies are affected by climatic events, then food security, livelihoods, and public health are threatened.
The PaCIS Research and Assessment Working Group reported that many Pacific Island agencies lack, but want, better guidance for their efforts aimed at assessing and predicting water resources, justifying planning actions, and evaluating water usage plans. Consequently, a key component of the Climate Adaptation for the Pacific RISA, is ongoing dialogue and partnership between scientists and decision makers in island settings to facilitate (1) assessment of how the sustainability of ground water resources is impacted by climate variability and change and (2) development of adaptation strategies.
Header image: A waterfall in Ka‘au Crater, O‘ahu, Hawai‘i. (Source: Victoria Keener)