Pacific RISA is examining the nature of decisions being made about the sustainability of freshwater resources. We are identifying what decisions are made by whom and what climate research, tools, and information is needed to support decision processes.
1. Who are the key stakeholders in decisions about the sustainability of freshwater resources under changing climatic conditions?
2. What climate adaptation decisions are stakeholders facing related to freshwater resources?
3. What research, tools, and information are needed to support and sustain stakeholders’ climate- sensitive assessments, decision-making processes, and use of climate information?
4. What capacity do stakeholders have to use climate information to support their adaptation decisions?
5. Who are the key intermediaries and what roles do they play in analyzing, communicating, and disseminating information about climate impacts?
Pacific RISA conducted in-depth interviews with 23 stakeholders of freshwater resources in the Central O‘ahu Watershed from the private sector and from federal, state, city, and county government agencies. The interviews explored their organizations’ responsibilities, capacities, and support needs in managing freshwater resources, particularly regarding issues that may be affected by climate change. Participants discussed their familiarity with climate change and how different levels of uncertainty in scientific information would affect their ability to use the information. The interviews also considered relevant laws and policies that influence their decision-making process and responses to climate change impacts.
Information obtained from the in-depth interviews was used to design the materials and methods for two stakeholder workshops, held July 8 and 15, 2011. The main goal of the workshops was to engage stakeholders from government and non-government organizations in a collaborative deliberation on key questions related to freshwater sustainability and how these questions need to be answered.
Workshop 1, July 8 2011
Workshop 2, July 15 2011
To examine the transferability of this work, Pacific RISA will review literature to contrast the Pacific Islands with other regions and to compare similar studies done elsewhere on ground water sensitivity to climate change. Pearl Harbor is a potential “worst case” due to its large water demand and vulnerability to water quality resulting from land-use practices and saltwater intrusion. The Iao-Waihee aquifer on Maui has a similar high demand and lens thickened by coastal caprock. Guam has high demand, but some hydrogeological dissimilarity with Pearl Harbor as the useable groundwater exists in permeable limestone perched on volcanic rock of low permeability in the northern half of the island. Saltwater intrusion applies to both aquifers. Tinian in the CNMI has hydrogeology similar to Guam, but the demand is much lower than the sustainable yield. Despite the fact that the climate effects on each island will vary depending on the island location and hydrogeologic settings, we expect that the adaptive-management decision-making processes needed to address climate variability and change impacts in the Pearl Harbor aquifer will be transferable to other island environments world-wide.Header image: Astronaut photo of Pearl Harbor. (Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pearl_Harbor)