WRRC hosts a series of seminars during the spring and fall semesters at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. From Spring 2018 to Spring 2019, in collaboration with the ‘Ike Wai Project, we have been providing a forum to increase awareness of water issues pertaining to island hydrology—encouraging discussions of the management and preservation of Hawai‘i’s water resources with respect to climate, population demands, and contamination.

Upcoming Seminars

The Spring 2019 WRRC seminar series has ended. Please revisit our page in Fall of 2019 for more seminars.

Previous Seminars 
Flow in Funky, Fractured, Faulted Formations: What Do We Need for Prediction in the Deep Subsurface?

Date: May 28, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Michael Cardiff

Abstract: The deep subsurface is increasingly being called upon to meet humanity’s growing water, energy, and waste containment needs. This zone — which for fluid flow purposes may roughly be defined as between 100 m and 5 km below land surface — is a region where the process of flow through fractures is likely to contribute strongly to flow and transport, and where dual-domain behavior in both primary and secondary porosity is likely to occur. Similarly, this region represents a domain where complex interactions between fluid flow, rock mechanics, and heat and chemical transport are likely to take place. Engineering applications as diverse as CO2 sequestration, hydraulic fracturing, liquid waste disposal, and geothermal energy extraction will all benefit from a more comprehensive understanding of this hard-to-access part of the Earth where observations are limited and expensive. In this talk, I will discuss field, experimental, and modeling techniques that can be leveraged to gain insights about properties and coupled processes in deep, fractured environments. In particular, I will focus on technologies and experimental designs that hold promise for illuminating the vitally important permeability structure in difficult environments such as fractured or faulted rock. As an example in the field, I will summarize recent work during the hydrogeophysical “PoroTomo” experiment performed at a 2 km-deep geothermal reservoir near Fernley, NV.

Evaluating the Effects of Future Climate and Land-Cover Conditions on Groundwater Resources for the Island of Maui, Hawai‘i

Date: April 23, 2019

Speaker(s): Drs. Victoria Keener, Laura Brewington, and Alan Mair

Part I. Participatory Scenario Planning for Climate Change Adaptation: Projected Future Climate and Stakeholder-Defined Land-Cover Scenarios for the Island of Maui, Hawai‘i —Victoria Keener and Laura Brewington (East-West Center & NOAA Pacific Regional Integrated Sciences & Assessments)

Abstract: For the last century, the island of Maui has been the center of environmental, agricultural, and legal conflict with respect to both surface and groundwater allocation. Planning for sustainable future freshwater supply in Hawai‘i requires adaptive policies and decision-making that emphasizes private and public partnerships and knowledge transfer between scientists and non-scientists. To quantify future changes in an island-scale climate and groundwater recharge under different land uses, we will discuss downscaled dynamical and statistical future climate projects used in a participatory scenario building process. The participatory scenario planning began in 2012, bringing together a diverse group of ~100 decision-makers in government, watershed restoration, agriculture, and conservation to (1) determine the type of information they would find helpful in planning for climate change, and (2) develop a set of nested scenarios that represent alternative climate and management futures. This integration of knowledge is an iterative process, resulting in flexible and transparent narratives of complex futures comprised of information at multiple scales. We will present an overview of the downscaling, scenario building, and stakeholder response.

Part II. Groundwater Recharge for Projected Future Climate and Stakeholder-Defined Land-Cover Scenarios for the Island of Maui, Hawai‘i —Alan Mair (USGS Pacific Islands Water Science Center)

Abstract: Groundwater availability on Maui can be affected by changes in climate and land cover. To evaluate the availability of fresh groundwater under projected future climate and stakeholder-defined land-cover conditions, estimates of groundwater recharge are needed. As such, a water-budget model developed by the U.S. Geological Survey was used to estimate the spatial distribution of recharge for 11 unique combinations of climate and land-cover conditions. A variety of available research material was used in this study to represent the diversity of conditions, including two sets of end-of-century climate projects developed by University of Hawai‘i researchers, and future land-cover scenarios developed by Pacific RISA researchers. In one combination of climate and land-cover conditions, the results of the water budget for two future climate scenarios indicated a decrease across central and leeward areas of Maui, increases across windward areas of Haleakala, and opposing changes for the remaining parts of Maui. The projected changes in recharge for the future land-cover scenarios do suggest that appropriate land management may help to mitigate the effects of a drying climate.

Characterizing the Stream and its Association With the Ecosystem in Hawai‘i 

Date: April 16, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Yin-Phan Tsang, Assistant Professor, Natural Resources and Environmental Management, CTAHR

Abstract: This presentation will consist of two parts, based on recent studies focusing on Hawaiian streams and ecosystems.

Part I. Characterizing Natural Barriers to Non-native Stream Fauna in Hawai‘i—Waterfalls are natural barriers that influence the distribution and dispersion of aquatic species. In Hawai‘i, it is assumed that non-native species are unable to pass waterfall barriers, yet they are still present above some waterfalls, possibly facilitated by human introduction. In this study, we used a landscape approach to identify likely human introductions and examined the ability of 14 non-native stream fauna to bypass waterfalls when the possibility of human introduction is eliminated. This study highlights the role that people play in facilitating species introductions in otherwise inaccessible habitats.

Part II. Temporal Shifts in the Magnitude of Peak Streamflow and Its Associated Rainfall Across the Hawaiian Islands—Previous studies show that extreme rainfall events are becoming more common. However, there is little research available that examines the temporal and spatial trends of peak streamflow (peak flow) events associated with heavy rainfall events. We analyzed the annual peak flow and the annual maximum rainfall trends of 112 stream crest gages from the U.S. Geological Survey, and an additional 82 rain gages from the National Centers for Environmental Information, across the Hawaiian Islands from the water years 1970 to 2005. To add to the current knowledge of flood risk and management in Hawai‘i, our study discussed how the annual peak flows changed over time, patterns in their spatial distribution, and how they are associated with rainfall.

*Please note, due to technical circumstances, the audio was unable to be captured during the video presentation below. We apologize for any inconvenience.*

Challenges in Evaluating Microbial Beach Water Quality in Hawai‘i

Date: April 2, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Marek Kirs, Microbiologist, WRRC

Abstract: In an effort to improve current water quality monitoring programs, the Water Resources Research Center has been engaged in multiple research projects pertaining to microbial water quality indicators, specifically in a tropical environment. This presentation will summarize the results of selected projects from 2013 to 2019. The projects addresses two major issues hampering the application of the EPA recommended Recreational Water Quality Criteria in Hawai‘i: (1) the growth of the current microbial water quality indicators in extra-enteric environments (i.e., soils and vegetation), and (2) the lack of information on contamination sources when the microbial water quality indicators are detected. My presentation will focus on the following, as it applies to Hawai‘i: (1) our current efforts to determine the health risk associated with current and alternative microbial water quality indicator levels, (2) the evaluation and application of molecular microbial source tracking (MST) methods, (3) the evaluation and application of rapid EPA method 1609 and 1611 for beach notification purposes, (4) utilization of a portable multi-use automated concentration system (PMACS) for the MST in our coastal environments, and (5) the hidden bacterial diversity in our groundwater.

Estimation of Evapotranspiration and Gross Primary Productivity via Variational Assimilation of Remotely Sensed Land Surface Temperature and Leaf Area Index

Date: January 22, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Sayed Bateni

Abstract: To estimate evapotranspiration and gross primary productivity, land surface temperature (LST) and leaf area index (LAI) measurements were assimilated into a coupled surface energy balance-vegetation dynamic model (SEB-VDM) within a variational data assimilation (VDA) system. The SEB and VDM are coupled by relating photosynthesis in the VDM to transpiration in the SEB equation. The unknown parameters of the VDA system are (1) bulk heat transfer coefficient (CHN), (2) soil evaporative fraction (EFs), (3) canopy evaporative fraction (EFc), and (4) specific leaf area (cg). The performance of the VDA approach was tested in the Heihe River Basin (HRB) extensively, which is located in northwest China. The results show that the developed VDA framework performs well in different environmental conditions, and the estimated evapotranspiration and gross primary productivity agree well with the corresponding measurements from the eddy covariance stations.

Dr. Sayed Bateni’s seminar – January 22, 2019

Green Energy in the Wastewater Industry: Moving to Net Zero Energy in Hawaii

The Hawaii Water Environment Association in collaboration with the Water Resources Research Center recently organized a one-day workshop on the use of green energy at wastewater treatment facilities, and how this might be implemented in Hawaii.

August 2, 2017 Workshop