The Pacific RISA emphasizes integrated research that addresses real-world problems. Our work includes the downscaling of climate projections for specific island locations. Unavailable to date, this is critical for island climate adaptation planning. Utilizing these projections, hydrological researchers will assess the sustainability of ground water resources in island settings. We will also assess the human dimensions of drought vulnerabilities in the region.
Fresh water is critical for all islands, and the Pacific is no exception. When climatic events affect water supply, then food security, livelihoods, and public health are also threatened. About half of the Federated States of Micronesia and 80% of the Marshall Islands are atolls, which peak at only a few feet above present sea level. Atoll water supplies are particularly sensitive to changes in rainfall and fluctuation in the water table. Surface water is limited, if it exists at all. Aquifers are small and fragile—threatened by increasing demand as well as salt-water intrusion. Even on the “high” volcanic islands like Guam and Hawaii there are considerable demands on water resources due to tourism, agriculture, and the US military presence. It is of utmost importance to address the adequacy and long-term stability of water resources for Pacific Islanders.
Pacific RISA Projects: