Kauai becomes one of the nation’s first counties to enact rules based on sea level rise

Kauai County sea level rise bill signing
Kauai County sea level rise bill signing(Courtesy: County of Kauai)
Published: Oct. 18, 2022 at 5:35 PM HST|Updated: Oct. 18, 2022 at 5:57 PM HST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

KAUAI (HawaiiNewsNow) - Kauai County has enacted a new law to prepare for rising ocean levels, becoming one of the first counties in the nation to enact regulations based on sea level rise modeling projections.

Kauai Mayor Derek Kawakami signed Bill 2879 last Friday at the Lihue Civic Center’s Moikeha Rotunda.

The ordinance amends construction design standards to incorporate sea level rise impacts, requiring the lowest floor of new construction to be two feet above the highest sea level rise flood level.

Experts say Kauai is setting the example for coastal communities around the nation.

“Kauai is no stranger to the impacts of climate change,” Kawakami said. “This type of measure is something that we will not see the impacts of today, tomorrow but will be seen by our kids and our grandkids and for every generation that comes.”

The county’s planning department worked closely with UH Manoa’s Climate Resilience Collaborative on the measure to incorporate its innovative computer model projections.

The modeling, which is reflected in an online atlas, shows areas across the Hawaiian Islands where chronic coastal flooding and erosion are expected to occur as sea level rises in the coming decades.

To view the online atlas, click here.