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Predicting Hawai‘i Water Demand Under Climate Change

Understanding the factors that affect water demand in Hawai‘i is vital for sustainable coastal development and building resilience against coastal hazards

UHERO, UH Department of Urban and Regional Planning, UH Sea Grant, and the Honolulu Board of Water Supply are working together to study water demand on O‘ahu, with a particular focus on climate-related drivers. Climate uncertainty is especially salient in Hawai‘i, with its mild climate and rainfall patterns closely connected to regional trade winds. Large historical price variations coupled with widely varying climates within a single water district will hopefully allow us to identify how different types of users in different environments respond to prices. In addition to promoting water resource sustainability, the project touches on a number of other important topics. Results will help to inform sustainable coastal development: our analysis will clarify how different kinds of urban, suburban, recreational, and business developments affect water demand. Relatedly, understanding how water consumption varies across resorts and for other tourism-related uses should aid in planning and permitting that is sustainable and serves the broader interest of O‘ahu. Lastly, although our focus is on water demand, not supply, improving Hawai‘i’s ability to adjust demand in response to rapidly changing supply (e.g. due to sea-level rise, drought, and invasive species), is central to the idea of hazard resilience in coastal communities.

Supported by: University of Hawai‘i Sea Grant Program



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