SEMINARS

WRRC hosts a series of seminars during the spring and fall semesters at the University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa. In Spring 2021, in collaboration with the ‘Ike Wai Project, we are 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
FALL 2021 WRRC/‘IKE WAI SEMINAR SCHEDULE
All lectures will be virtual this Fall via Zoom. Please check back later for the Fall schedule.
 

Seminars are on Friday from 2–3 pm unless otherwise noted. Location: UH Manoa Campus, Zoom Meeting.

For more information about the Spring 2021 WRRC/‘Ike Wai seminars, please contact:  Michael Mezzacapo,  mmezz@hawaii.edu

  • 29 JANUARY:  Sea-Level Rise and Inundation of Infrastructure Including Coastal Cesspools and Wastewater Systems by Dr. Shellie Habel (Extension Agent with the University of Hawai‘i’s Sea Grant Program College and the Coastal Lands Program Coordinator, Dept. of Land and Natural Resources Office of Conservation and Coastal Lands) and Dr. Trista McKenzie (a postdoctoral researcher in the Department of Earth Sciences)
  • 12 FEBRUARY: Kapo’o Tidepools in the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District: A Community Perspective on Water Quality Issues by Dr. Denise Antolini J.D. (University of Hawai‘i William S. Richardson School of Law) and Mr. Marvin Heskett (Practicing environmental consultant and chemist)
  • 26 FEBRUARY: Guam Restoration of Watersheds (GROW) Initiative by Dr. Austin Shelton (University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and Guam Sea Grant)
  • 5 MARCH: Equity and Waiwai—Water, Rights and Relationships in a Changing Climate by Ms. Laurien Baird Hokuli’i Helfrich-Nuss (City and County of Honolulu’s Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency)
  • 12 MARCH: The Ala Wai Watershed from Nutrients to Microbes by Ms. Jessica Bullington¹ and Mr. Sean Mahaffey² (University of Hawai‘i Center for Microbial Oceanography¹ and Department of Oceanography²)
  • 9 APRIL: Mountain-to-Sea Ecological-Resource Management: Forested Watersheds, Coastal Aquifers, and Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems by Dr. Kimberly Burnett and Dr. Christopher Wada (University of Hawai‘i Economic Research Organization and WRRC Research Affiliates)
  • 23 APRIL: NOAA Water Information for Hawaii: Resources to Support Decision-Making by Dr. Karen Bareford¹ and Ms. Brenna Sweetman² (NOAA National Water Center at the University of Alabama¹ and NOAA Office for Coastal Management at the National Water Center, Alabama²)
  • 7 MAY: Building Capacity for Water Quality Research and Monitoring on Maui by Dr. Andrea Kealoha (University of Hawai‘i Maui College)

 

 

 

If interested in joining the seminar, please contact:  wrrc@hawaii.edu

 

  

Previous Seminars 

Building Capacity for Water Quality Research and Monitoring on Maui

Date: May 7, 2021

Speaker: Dr. Andrea Kealoha

Abstract:

In 2020, the University of Hawai‘i Maui College (UHMC) opened Maui’s first water quality lab. The UHMC Water Quality Lab has three main goals: (1) provide UHMC students with educational opportunities for field work and research related to water quality, (2) build capacity for water quality monitoring on Maui, and (3) conduct research that benefits Hawaiʻi’s coastal ecosystems. This seminar will primarily focus on our lab’s current research projects that investigate the impact of multiple stressors, such as eutrophication and acidification, on coral reef ecosystem health.

NOAA Water Information for Hawaii:  Resources to Support Decision-Making

Date: April 23, 2021

Speakers: Dr. Karen Bareford and Ms. Brenna Sweetman

Abstract:

Water resources stakeholders need access to consistent, high space and time-resolution, integrated water analyses, predictions, and data to address critical unmet information and service gaps related to floods, droughts, water quality, water availability, and climate change. A variety of tools are available to help address these gaps including the National Water Model (NWM), the Digital Coast platform’s resources, and the Adapting Stormwater Management for Coastal Floods product. The NWM is a continental scale hydrologic model that forecasts key components of the water cycle. The Digital Coast offers a collection of data, tools, and trainings for the coastal management community to address coastal and marine issues. The Adapting Stormwater Management for Coastal Floods product is a self-guided learning resource created to help communities better understand and assess possible impacts on stormwater systems. This presentation will introduce these products and services that can help inform decision-making in Hawai‘i.

Mountain-to-Sea Ecological-Resource Management: Forested Watersheds, Coastal Aquifers, and Groundwater Dependent Ecosystems

Date: April 9, 2021

Speakers: Dr. Kimberly Burnett and Dr. Christopher Wada

Abstract:

Improving the understanding of connections spanning from mountain to sea and integrating those connections into decision models have been increasingly recognized as key to effective coastal resource management. This presentation examines the relative importance of linkages between a forested watershed, a coastal groundwater aquifer, and a nearshore marine groundwater-dependent ecosystem (GDE) using a dynamic groundwater optimization framework. Data from the Kīholo aquifer on Hawai‘i Island were used to numerically illustrate optimal joint management strategies. We find that for a plausible range of watershed management costs, protecting part of the recharge capture area is always optimal. Results also suggested that optimal watershed management and groundwater pumping were most sensitive to changes in water demand growth and parameters that described nearshore salinity.

The Ala Wai Watershed from Nutrients to Microbes

Date: March 12, 2021

Speakers: Ms. Jessica Bullington and Mr. Sean Mahaffey

Abstract:

The Ala Wai Watershed is an important hydrologic system in Honolulu surrounded by a highly populated area. That area includes the Makiki, Mānoa, and Pālolo streams, which flow into the Ala Wai Canal—an artificial estuary connected to the nearshore waters of Waikīkī. The Strategic Monitoring and Resilience Training (SMART) Ala Wai program at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa was created to monitor the water quality throughout the watershed. SMART is multidisciplinary in approach and has cultivated learning and research experience among graduate, undergraduate, and high school students. In this talk, we will summarize major findings from two aspects of the SMART program: variability of nutrients in the streams and pathogenic bacteria in the canal.

For more information on SMART, please visit http://www.smart-alawai.manoa.hawaii.edu/

Equity and Waiwai—Water, Rights and Relationships in a Changing Climate 

Date: March 5, 2021

Speaker: Ms. Laurien Nuss

Abstract:

By law, the Office of Climate Change, Sustainability and Resiliency of the City and County of Honolulu is required to coordinate actions and policies to advance procedural, distributional, structural, intergenerational, and cultural equity. This presentation will focus on how the Climate Resilience and Equity Program is expanding the access, agency, and advocacy for communities’ (e.g., indigenous communities, women, and immigrants) experiencing social inequities dealing with climate changes. Discussion is encouraged on leadership, participation, and representation of the City’s climate adaptation and mitigation efforts addressing the needs and experiences of the affected communities that threaten public health, employment, and economic stability.

Additional Resources

❖  A Short Course in Water Rights

❖  O‘ahu Water Keepers

❖  A 2007 CENTRAL O‘AHU WATERSHED STUDY provided recommendations and concerns specific to this region on O‘ahu. One significant recommendation was the development an overall Pearl Harbor Management Plan and associated activities, protecting existing wetlands at Pouhala and Pearl Harbor National Wildlife Refuge, restoration of Hawaiian fishponds within Pearl Harbor for cultural and watershed education purposes, and erosion mitigation of the ‘Ewa Shoreline.

Flooding continues to be a problem in low-lying parts of ‘Ewa, Waipahu, and the lower reaches of Waiawa Stream, and will only increase from the pressures of proposed housing developments. Flood management is necessary and will require a hydrologic analysis, drainage improvements at chronic flooding sites, and restriction of development within floodways and gulches.

Growing populations and a mix of land uses in Central O‘ahu pose threats to groundwater quality and ultimately, municipal water supply for approximately 40% of O‘ahu’s population.

To remediate many of these issues, effective watershed management is necessary, requiring cooperation and information sharing of City, State, and Federal government; communities; landowners; and businesses.

  1. SOURCE WATER PROTECTION PROGRAM
  2. DESALINATION PROJECT
  3. RECYCLED WATER RESOURCE DEVELOPMENT
  4. WATER CONSERVATION PROGRAM
  5. WATERSHED INFILTRATION ENHANCEMENT
  6. AQUIFER RECHARGE PROTECTION
  7. WATER USE INVENTORY
  8. LOW IMPACT DEVELOPMENT
  9. INACTIVE LANDFILL MITIGATION

Guam Restoration of Watersheds (GROW) Initiative

Date: February 26, 2021

Speaker: Dr. Austin Shelton

Abstract:

The Guam Restoration of Watersheds (GROW) Initiative aims to revive island landscapes and downstream coral reefs. GROW advances U.N. Sustainable Development Goal 14 (Life Below Water) and Goal 15 (Life on Land) in alignment with the Guam Green Growth Action Framework. Coordinated by the University of Guam Center for Island Sustainability and Sea Grant, GROW partners use an interdisciplinary approach to test and develop novel tools to restore degraded watersheds, coral reefs, and fisheries. This presentation will feature a toolkit of watershed restoration strategies, including sediment filter socks, seed balls, and unmanned aerial vehicles. Student capacity building efforts in marine and environmental sciences through the NSF Guam EPSCoR and NSF INCLUDES projects will also be discussed.

Kapo’o Tidepools in the Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District: A Community Perspective on Water Quality Issues

Date: February 12, 2021

Speakers: Professor Denise Antolini and Mr. Marvin Heskett

Abstract:

This presentation will “zoom in” on current water quality issues threatening the Kapoʻo Tidepools at Sharks Cove on the North Shore of Oʻahu. The Pūpūkea Marine Life Conservation District (MLCD) Class AA waters provide ocean sports opportunities such as a popular snorkeling and swimming area. The shallow tidepools found in the MLCD are considered marine life nurseries that helps to maintain the abundance of numerous species. We will address water quality threats to human health and marine life from the perspective of two community groups—Mālama Pūpūkea Waimea and the Surfrider Foundation. The two groups joined forces to protect nearshore water quality in the tidepools from pollution threats such as contaminated stormwater, groundwater, and wastewater; and also support new citizen science and innovative scientific studies of this unique and important coastal area.

Sea-Level Rise and Inundation of Infrastructure Including Coastal Cesspools and Wastewater Systems

Date: January 29, 2021

Speakers: Dr. Shellie Habel and Dr. Trista McKenzie

Abstract:

Sea-level rise induced impacts in Hawai‘i are becoming increasingly problematic and observable as infrastructure degradation and failure occurs; this includes onsite sewage disposal systems. This presentation reviews the impacts that outdated and aging wastewater infrastructure will increasingly have on our coastlines and low-lying urban areas as sea level continues to rise. Evidence of such impacts includes groundwater modeling that considers sea-level rise induced lifting of the coastal water table, firsthand accounts of systems exposed by erosion and large storms, and field-based geochemical tracers (e.g., radon, pharmaceuticals) of groundwater discharge and its wastewater content. Overall, it will take a focused and driven effort to keep the deteriorating systems off our beaches and contaminants out of our coastal waters.

Recent Water-Resource Studies by the USGS Pacific Islands Water Science Center

Date: December 09, 2020

Speakers: Delwyn Oki, Kolja Rotzoll, Jackson Mitchell, Alan Mair, and Chui Ling Cheng

Abstract:

The U.S. Geological Survey, Pacific Islands Water Science Center (PIWSC) collects hydrologic data and conducts studies in Hawaiʻi and the U.S. Affiliated Pacific Islands to improve understanding of water resources for the benefit of the nation. The hydrologic data collected and the studies conducted by the PIWSC address information needs related to the quantity and quality of groundwater and surface-water resources. For this seminar, a series of short presentations will describe recently completed or ongoing efforts related to groundwater availability (Molokaʻi and Maui), groundwater status and trends (Saipan), potential effects of climate change on water resources (State of Hawaiʻi), and water-resource monitoring needs (State of Hawaiʻi).

Solute Dispersion in Groundwater

Date: December 02, 2020

Speaker: Dr. Peter Kitanidis

Abstract:

At least 98% of the earth’s groundwater is fresh water—in other words, water that is not seawater or ice. Groundwater is a valuable but fragile resource that is constantly threatened with contamination. However, predicting contaminant concentration values in the subsurface remains a great challenge. We will discuss some of the difficulties and, in particular, the role of dispersion.

Dispersion—the spreading of solutes—is a pronounced and important solute-transport phenomenon. The textbook methodology for modeling and predicting dispersion has been criticized, which has lead to debates as to what is the right approach. This presentation will review the real and imagined strengths and limitations of some methods for modeling and predicting the dispersion of solutes in groundwater.

Compartmentalization of the Terrestrial Water Cycle

Date: November 18, 2020

Speaker: Dr. Jeffrey McDonnell

Abstract:

The catchment annual water balance (i.e., input minus output equals change in storage) is the most important equation in hydrology. But recent studies using stable isotope tracers show a much more complex terrestrial water cycle than simple hydrometric observations suggest. At scales from global to microscopic, the water cycle appears highly compartmentalized and poorly mixed at timescales well beyond the annual measurements of input and output. This presentation summarizes recent work and attempts to describe how this stored inventory of old water links to streamflow and transpiration outputs.

Date: November 4, 2020

Speaker: Dr. Albert Kim

Abstract:

The 21st century is an era of natural resource depletion. In the science and engineering community, food, energy, and water (FEW) are enduring research topics as they are vital resources for human life. Moreover, the sustainable future of human beings are threatened by climate change, global temperature increase, and sea level rise. Among the three components of FEW, water is the most critical resource because it is an essential raw resource to the food and energy production.

In the ocean-surrounded tropical Pacific Islands, it is vital to store enough water resources for short-term purposes and to have decade- and century-long plans for a stable water supply. This presentation will discuss proven, state-of-the-art desalination technologies and the appropriate applications for Hawai‘i.

Measuring and Modeling Aerosol-Cloud-Precipitation Interactions in Complex Terrain: Lessons Learned from IPHEx

Date: October 28, 2020

Speaker: Dr. Ana Barros

Abstract:

The Intense Observing Period (IOP) Integrated Precipitation and Hydrology Experiment (IPHEx) field campaign took place from 01 May to 15 June 2014 in the southeastern US and centered on the Southern Appalachian Mountains (SAM). IPHEx was one of the ground validation campaigns after NASA’s Global Precipitation Mission (GPM) core satellite launch. Precipitation and aerosol measurements were collected and operated simultaneously at a supersite in the inner mountain region during the IPHEx IOP. Other supersite instrumentation included two radars (W- and X-band), a ceilometer, and a microwave radiometer. The University of North Dakota (UND) Citation Research Aircraft was flown to characterize aerosol and cloud microphysics’ vertical structure, including liquid water content, and hydrometeor-size distributions over the ground sites. This data set offers a great opportunity to perform modeling studies of warm-season cloud formation, leading to precipitation in complex terrain. I will first discuss the regional climatology of clouds and precipitation, including their role in modulating SAM’s hydrology and ecology. Second, we will investigate aerosol-cloud-precipitation interactions (ACPI) leveraging IPHEx IOP observations and two different models: (1) a cloud-parcel model to focus on aerosol-cloud interactions, and (2) a numerical weather prediction model—specifically weather research and forecasting (WRF)—to assess the impact of aerosol properties on precipitation over the SAM. Finally, we synthesize and examine our findings’ implications for the measurement and modeling of orographic precipitation processes generally.

Modeling Vadose Zone Processes using HYDRUS and its Specialized Module

Date: October 14, 2020

Speaker: Dr. Jirka Šimůnek

Abstract:

Agriculture is one of the most important non-point pollution sources due to the use of chemicals in plant and animal production. Many mathematical numerical models evaluating water flow and the fate and transport of these chemicals in the subsurface were developed over the last three or four decades. These models are now readily available and widely used. This presentation will first briefly review recent versions of the HYDRUS models widely used to model water flow, chemical movement, and heat transport through variably-saturated soils. I will discuss various specialized HYDRUS modules intended to simulate processes not available in the standard HYDRUS versions, such as the transport of multiple interacting solutes, preferential flow, colloid-facilitated solute transport, cosmic ray fluxes, or transport of fumigants. These new modules include the DualPerm, C-Ride, HP1/2/3, Wetland, UnsatChem, Fumigant, Cosmic, Furrow, and Slope3. Finally, I will briefly review many recent applications of the Hydrus models, which include modeling of various irrigation practices, different contaminants, and different cropping systems.

The Work-4-Water Initiative: Promoting Workforce Development, Infrastructure Investment, 400 Cesspool Replacements and Water Protection in Hawai‘i’s Four Counties

Date: September 30, 2020

Speakers: Stuart Coleman and Michael Mezzacapo

Abstract:

To help Hawai‘i deal with the unprecedented COVID-19 and resulting hardships, the Work-4-Water Initiative aims to create a workforce of development projects, and in the process, reduce the amount of pollution from cesspools and support statewide resilient economic and community recovery plans. With more than 88,000 cesspools discharging nearly 53 million gallons of untreated sewage into the ground each day, Hawai‘i has been struggling for years to find solutions to its numerous wastewater issues. The Work-4-Water Initiative provides the state an immediate opportunity to jump-start the mandated replacement of cesspools, while simultaneously training and employing a specialized, non-tourism based workforce. Our plan will create shovel-ready projects across the state, stimulating the economy, and improving water quality and public health for residents and visitors alike through education, hands-on training, job creation, and pilot testing of more than 400 cesspool conversion sites on Hawai‘i, Maui, Kaua‘i, and O‘ahu.

Revitalizing Agriculture in Hawaii

Date: February 28, 2020

Speaker: Kawika Burgess

Abstract:

After more than 100 years of large-scale monocrop (sugar and pineapple) agriculture in Hawai‘i, much of our agricultural lands are now fallow. The once fertile lands are being converted to gentlemen estates and urban sprawl, and zoned for non-agricultural and unsustainable uses. Hawai‘i imports over 85–90% of its food and other necessities and is almost completely dependent on tourism and military spending. However, just a few generations ago, Hawai‘i was completely self-sufficient, producing 100% of its food, fuel, and fiber. Our ancestors created some of the most innovative, adaptive, and efficient agricultural systems in the world. Today, efforts are being made to reshape and revitalize Hawai‘i’s agriculture through regenerative and vertically integrated models. Kalona Brand Company and a growing number of Hawai‘i enterprises are working to grow unique and niche crops, implement regenerative practices, and create value added food and agricultural products. Come and learn about these efforts and discuss how revitalized and sustainable agricultural industry in Hawai‘i can diversify our economy, create rural economic development, support sustainable land use practices, increase local production of food, fiber and other agricultural products, and keep Hawai‘i’s agricultural lands used exclusively for agriculture.

Recent Mini-Argus Coastal Imaging System Applications in USACE Districts

Date: February 26, 2020

Speaker: Dr. Brittany Bruder

Abstract:

The U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center (ERDC) developed a system that quickly monitors the state of coastal environments by providing real-time quantitative imagery and engineering data. Previous methods were often costly, time consuming, and could be challenging during storm events when monitoring is needed most. The mini-Argus system provides high-resolution remote video imaging as a quantitative tool for collecting coastal monitoring data efficiently and cost effectively. This presentation includes the results of using the system at three project locations: Duck, North Carolina; New Smyrna Beach, Florida; and Sunset Beach, Hawai‘i.

Simulating Impacts of Land Cover Change and Climate Change on Groundwater Recharge in Maui

Date: February 14, 2020

Speaker: Dr. Laura Brewington

Abstract:

The objective of this study was to develop an integrated land cover/hydrological modeling framework using remote sensing and geographic information systems (GIS) data, stakeholder input, climate information and projections, and empirical data to estimate future groundwater recharge on the island of Maui, Hawaiʻi. Four future land-cover scenarios and two downscaled climate projections were used to estimate the end of the century mean annual groundwater recharge. The future scenarios focus were (1) conservation, (2) maintaining the status quo, (3) development, and (4) balancing conservation and development. The downscaled climate projections developed were (1) “dry future climate” and (2) “wet future climate.” To understand how the changing land management and climate could influence groundwater recharge, the results were compared to the estimated recharge using the 2017 baseline land cover. The estimated recharge increased island-wide under all future land-cover and climate combinations and was dominated by specific land cover transitions. To better describe the availability of groundwater across Maui, the water-budget modeling framework presented in this study provided information on the “supply” side, while the numerical groundwater modeling approach incorporated the “demand” side. Based on our findings, a spatially explicit scenario planning process and modeling framework would be able to communicate the possible consequences and tradeoff of land cover change under a changing climate, and can serve as a relevant tool for landscape-level management and decision making.

Working Together: Using Cloud-Based Collaborative Platforms to Facilitate Hydrologic Modeling and Data Analysis

Date: January 31, 2020

Speaker: Dr. Christopher Shuler

Abstract:

Recent advancements in social networking have influenced how we communicate professionally, how we work collaboratively, and how we approach data-science. Scientific endeavors—especially computational tasks such as groundwater modeling or exploratory data analysis—are poised to take advantage of these new developments. Improving the shareability of information has revolutionized how we work with each other, and revealed a new process-based paradigm that promotes enhanced collaboration and maintenance of long-standing project partnerships. In this presentation I’ll talk about my experiences using various cloud-based platforms such as GitHub and Google Colab to share data and work with researchers and stakeholders on hydrologic projects throughout Hawai‘i and American Samoa. These projects include the continuing development of a collaborative groundwater modeling framework with a water utility in American Samoa; using free google-based tools to manage a multi-disciplinary, statewide effort to understand the effects of non-point wastewater pollution on our coasts; and developing an open-access water budget model that is being used by multiple stakeholders to fill different needs.

Watercress Farming and Climate Change Challenges in Hawai‘i

Date: November 19, 2019

Speaker: Dr. John McHugh

Abstract:

This presentation will discuss the relationship between water and watercress farming at Sumida Farms, the largest watercress farm in Hawai‘i, in the context of climate change. Specifically, key challenges facing Sumida Farms in ensuring their sustainability in the face of climate change will be discussed. During my presentation, I encourage everyone to engage in conversational exchanges about the challenges and opportunities of spring dependent farming in Hawai‘i.

Water Impacts of Invasive Plants in Hawai‘i

Date: November 5, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Tom Giambelluca

Abstract:

Replacement of native plants by non-native invasive species can affect water processes and impact water resources in several ways. Perhaps the most important effect of invasion is the possible increase in transpiration by fast-growing invasive plants, leading to a greater proportion of water input being lost to the atmosphere as evapotranspiration. Invasive plants in Hawai‘i are widely believed to use more water (i.e., to have higher transpiration rates) than the native plants they replace. If true, this would mean that the widespread invasion of Hawai‘i’s ecosystems by non-native plants is having a big negative impact on our water resources by reducing streamflow and groundwater recharge. However, the research to demonstrate the effect of invasion on evapotranspiration is still relatively limited. In this presentation, I will discuss the reasons why invasive plants might be big water users and show the results of our field observations of transpiration and total evaporative water loss in native- and non-native-dominated ecosystems.

Water Accounting for the State of Hawai‘i: Results from O‘ahu and Maui

Date: October 22, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Kirsten Oleson

Abstract:

In this project, we inventoried and assessed the stocks and flows of freshwater in Hawai‘i’s natural systems and human economy, following the integrated approach proposed by the United Nations’ System of Environmental-Economic Accounts for Water. In partnership with potential users of this information and providers of the data, as well as national and international experts, we developed reporting protocols and accounting tables for the Hawaiian Islands that are consistent with national level methods. They include (1) compiling integrated hydrological-economic water supply and use, and asset accounts; (2) identifying data gaps and next steps; and (3) raising awareness of accounting as a tool for sustainable management. The resulting island-scale water supply, use tables, and asset accounts detail stocks and flows between the environment and the economy for the two islands (O‘ahu and Maui). The products can serve as a clarifying guide to make fundamental choices about Hawai‘i’s various paths to economic development. The research can directly inform difficult choices about the water-energy-food nexus critical to Hawai‘i’s sustainability and security.

Supporting Climate Change Decision Making: Data Transformation and Knowledge Exchange with Resource Managers in the Pacific Islands

Date: October 8, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Abby Frazier

Abstract:

Land managers are facing co-occurring threats to their landscapes such as climate change, invasive species, wildfire, and drought. As novel ecosystems and climates emerge—particularly hotter and drier climates—it is critical that scientists produce locally relevant, timely, and actionable science products. Trends in rainfall and characteristics of drought have been analyzed for the State of Hawai‘i since 1920, and additional high-resolution climate datasets have been recently produced (e.g., 25 years of gridded daily rainfall and temperature). However, the ability to use GIS is needed to extract site-specific information as no geospatial tools have been developed. For future climate projections, only raw climate model outputs are available for users. A knowledge exchange and technical assistance process is needed to encourage formal collaboration between researchers and managers. To address this need, we are piloting a knowledge exchange and technical assistance process with individual land managers in Hawai‘i and the U.S.-Affiliated Pacific Islands to co-produce customized site-specific drought and climate data products based on the needs of each manager. To improve the accessibility of the downscaled climate projections in Hawai‘i, the raw outputs have been re-processed and transformed into derived variables in raster format and standardized across models. This often-overlooked role of translating scientific outputs into usable, accessible data formats and engaging resource managers in research planning and knowledge co-production is essential to enable and support informed climate change decision making.

Natural and Contaminant Chemistry of Freshwater Streams, Groundwater, and Wastewater Treatment Plant Effluents on the Hawaiian Islands

Date: September 24, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Larry Barber

Abstract:

Sustainability of freshwater resources on island ecosystems relies on a detailed understanding of the sources and loading of contaminants and their impact on water quality. Considerable attention has been given to constituents such as nutrients and bacteria, but less is known about the occurrence and sources of unregulated contaminants such as trace elements and consumer product chemicals (pharmaceuticals and personal care products). Between 2014 and 2016 the U.S. Geological Survey conducted a survey of Hawaiian freshwaters on the islands of Kauai, Oahu, Maui, and Hawaii to assess the inorganic and organic chemistry of surface water and groundwater systems. This survey provides an important benchmark of the occurrence and sources for a variety of contaminants that are not typically investigated.

Hydrological Modeling Challenges in Hawaii and the Pacific

Date: September 13, 2019 • 3:30 pm

Location: POST 723, UH Manoa Campus

Speaker: Dr. Aly I. El-Kadi (Dept. of Earth Sciences & Water Resources Research Center)

Abstract:

Hydrological modeling in Hawaii and similar areas is challenging due to complicated hydrogeological features, steep topography, and variable climate conditions. This presentation will discuss the modeling efforts of the hydrology group over the past decades. Specifically covered include effects of climate change on Heeia watershed, American Samoa groundwater sustainability, surface water harvesting, and modeling of local scale geological variability. Progress of the current ‘Ike Wai modeling for West Hawaii’s groundwater will be also covered. Model developments are derived by the scale of the problem, data availability, and modeling objectives.

Stochastic Modeling of the Earth Subsurface: Dealing with Unobserved Natural Systems

Date: September 10, 2019

Speaker: Dr. Grégoire Mariéthoz

Abstract:

Many hydrological processes taking place at the Earth’s surface are directly observable, either through in-situ measurements or by using remote sensing techniques. In contrast, understanding properties of the subsurface poses formidable observational challenges. Firstly, measurements of the Earth’s interior are either difficult and expensive to acquire (e.g., boreholes) or indirect (e.g., measurement of subsurface flow and tracer concentrations). Secondly, the Earth’s interior is 3-dimensional, resulting in very empty data spaces. For example, even intensive drilling campaigns and geophysical surveys of an aquifer often sample only a small fraction of the total rock volume.

This talk will present stochastic aquifer modeling approaches that allow quantifying uncertainty in such data-poor problems. For many practical questions, the uncertainty in subsurface hydraulic properties further propagates into uncertainty in water resources management problems—for example, the transport of contaminant to a drinking water well, the intake of a groundwater-based desalination plant, or the behavior of a tracer in a subglacial drainage system. Stochastic aquifer models allow using a statistical description of the unobserved system to formulate ensemble predictions, resulting in a distribution of possible outcomes. The use of stochastic models will be illustrated in different environments, focusing on applications that integrate indirect data through inverse approaches.

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

OTHER FALL 2019 WATER RELATED SEMINARS:
September Hanauma Bay Freshwater Seminar Series

Throughout the month of September, the public will have the opportunity to talk story with the producer and host of Hawai‘i Sea Grant’s Voice of the Sea television series Kanesa Duncan Seraphin, and other experts featured in the series, at the Hanauma Bay Education Program’s Thursday seminar series.

Beginning on September 5 and running throughout the month, the public is invited to watch the newest episodes highlighting critical issues surrounding freshwater in Hawai‘i. As a thank you for attending the seminar, each audience member will be entered for a chance to win a free pair of Maui Jim sunglasses. (The drawing to be held on September 26, need not be present to win, no purchase necessary.)

The viewing and talk story sessions will be held every Thursday from 6:30pm to 7:30pm at the Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve’s visitor center.

September 5 – Restoring Forests and Recharging Aquifers
Experts from the Department of Land and Natural Resources (Suzanne Case); Kamehameha Schools (Ka‘eo Duarte); and The Nature Conservancy (Sam Ohu Gon) will be on hand to talk story about the importance of forests and native plants in capturing water to recharge Hawai‘i’s underground aquifers,

September 12 – Conserving Fresh Water in Hawai’i
As Hawai‘i faces a future of reduced rainfall, increased drought, and a growing population, specialists from the Honolulu Board of Water Supply will be sharing tips on protecting freshwater in our homes and in our communities.

September 19 – Recycling H2O
All the water used for drinking, cooking, washing, and growing food is recycled through the water cycle, but it is a long process when it occurs naturally. Experts from the Lāna‘i Water Company (Joy Gannon); ITC Water Management, Inc. (Elson Gushiken); and Roth Ecological Design (Lauren Roth) will be discussing how modern technologies recycle water much more quickly in order to preserve natural water stores and send less wastewater out into the ocean.

September 26 – Wai Maoli: Fresh Water for Life
Professionals from the Hawai‘i Community Foundation will be discussing freshwater initiative for the year 2030, and the Wai Maoli: Hawai‘i Fresh Water Initiative which is designed to address and resolve water supply issues.

Where: Hanauma Bay Nature Preserve, Visitor Center
When: Thursday evenings from 6:30pm to 7:30pm (please arrive at 6:15pm)
Cost: Parking is free after 4:00pm, no admission fee for the seminar
Phone: (808) 397-5840 or email: hbaynews@hawaii.edu

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