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Preserving Hawaii’s Precious Resource: Wai

Hawaii One Water Delegation | June 21, 2017

In Hawaii, water has been viewed with such importance that the traditional Hawaiian term is “Wai”, which also means wealth (“WaiWai”). In the early days of Hawaii’s history, streams were among the most important natural resource and people used stream water only when absolutely necessary. The very first laws in Hawaii are said to have been those relating to water. Today, Hawaii’s precious freshwater resources stand in a precarious position as populations surge, aquifer levels continue to decline, and drought conditions increase as the climate changes. Hawaii’s One Water Summit delegation, along with the commitment of a variety of local public, private, and non-profit entities, is dedicated to preserving freshwater resources for generations to come.

In an effort to bring together multiple diverse parties to develop a strategy to increase water security for the Hawaiian Islands, The Hawai‘i Fresh Water Initiative was launched in 2013. Organized by the independent, nonprofit Hawai‘i Community Foundation (HCF), the Initiative relied on a blue ribbon advisory panel of individuals (Hawai‘i Fresh Water Council) with deep knowledge of water and a collaborative spirit to articulate a vision for a more secure and sustainable water future based on shared values, and shared sacrifice.

The Blueprint, available online here, provides Hawaii policy and decision-makers with a set of solutions that have broad, multi-sector support in the fresh water community. At the One Water Summit, Hawaii’s Delegation is devoted to learning about innovative ideas that will help complete the 2030 goal of creating 100 million gallons per day (mgd) in additional, reliable fresh water capacity for our islands by 2030. We look forward to learning about other delegation’s commitments to preserving wai!

Here’s a Complete List of our Hawaii Delegation:

Ryan Yamane, Representative; Water and Land Chair, State House of Representatives

Danielle Bass, State Sustainability Coordinator, State of Hawaii

Josh Stanbro, Chief Resilience Officer, City and County of Honolulu

Michael Buck, Commissioner, Hawaii Commission on Water Resource Management

Mark Fox, Director of External Affairs, The Nature Conservancy, Hawaii Program

Lara Applegate, Sustainability Analyst, One World One Water

Christin Reynolds, Project Director, One World One Water

Photo credit: Ahupua‘a- a section of mountain, valley, and sea. Image courtesy of Matt Foster published by Maui Nō Ka ʻOi https://mauimagazine.net/about-us/.