UH study: Oahu’s primary aquifer in need of additional protections
HONOLULU (HawaiiNewsNow) - Recent research from the University of Hawaii suggests we should revisit current limits on water withdrawals from Oahu’s primary aquifer.
A move to more conservative limits will help to protect springs and drinking water for local communities.
Lean Bremer is with UHERO Environmental Policy and Planning Group and the Water Resources Research Center. She is part of an interdisciplinary team with the Ike Wai project, who released the latest of their their findings on July 26.
“This was an effort by the University of Hawaii Ike Wai project and it indicates that current legal limits on withdrawals from the Puuloa (Pearl Harbor) aquifer may not be sufficient to protect this important resource,” said Bremer.
The research says that if we withdraw from this water source at the current legal limit, many of the wells in the aquifer may become unusable for public water supply.
“Too much withdrawal from the aquifer would also negatively impact culturally and ecologically important springs that feed places like the Sumida Watercress Farm, loi kalo systems, and coastal wetlands and nearshore ecosystems,” added Bremer.
The groups research shows that the amount of water that can be safely taken from the aquifer will eventually be a lot less because climate change will likely reduce the island rainfall that supplies the aquifer.
“Protecting mauka watersheds from high-water-use invasive species, which can further reduce groundwater recharge, is critical in the face of such change,” Bremer said.
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