Maui News

Maui Water Quality Program Expands to Include 48 Test Sites

February 14, 2018, 11:18 AM HST
* Updated February 14, 12:00 PM
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Hui O Ka Wai Ola, a citizen science, coastal water quality monitoring program has undergone another expansion to include 12 more testing sites in South Maui, bringing the total number of testing sites across Maui to 48.

The program first launched in 2016 in West Maui and underwent an expansion in November to include a dozen test sites in South Maui.

The program is made possible under a joint effort from the Maui Nui Marine Resource Council, The Nature Conservancy, the West Maui Ridge to Reef Initiative and University of Hawaiʻi.

Hui O Ka Wai Ola is the first community-based water quality monitoring program on Maui to measure for nutrients (including nitrogen and phosphorus) in coastal waters.

Organization backers say nutrients can be indicators of sewage pollution and agricultural, golf course and landscaping runoff. Once in the ocean, these nutrients can lead to algal blooms. Algae, particularly invasive species, can quickly out-compete coral reefs for sunlight and overrun large tracts of living reef. Program leaders say sediment coming from construction and agricultural lands can also be detrimental.


The goal of Hui O Ka Wai Ola is to bring more awareness to local coastal water quality issues and support better-informed decisions and policies regarding water quality.

Volunteer Layne Otomo (right) answers a question about ocean water quality testing protocol during a training program for new Hui O Ka Wai Ola volunteers (L to R: Lindsay Ranieri, Kathy Thunholm and Kamalani Pahukoa) PC: Maui Nui Marine Resource Council

New Hui O Ka Wai Ola volunteers (L to R) Judy Jarvie, Nancy “Maile” Sharpe and Jeep Dunning examine the results of a water sample test while the program’s West Maui Team Lead Cathy Maxwell (right) looks on. PC: Maui Nui Marine Resource Council

Hui O Ka Wai Ola volunteers sample water at Pōhaku Park.

Citizen-science volunteers Ty Freiberg (left) and Marie Schroeder (right) collect water quality samples on Maui as part of the island’s newly launched Hui O Ka Wai Ola water quality monitoring program.

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