Hawai‘i Participates in National Awareness Event: “Imagine a Day Without Water”
Imagine a Day Without Water, on Oct. 21 is a day to pause and reflect on the value of water in our daily lives.
“COVID-19 and the climate crisis have underscored the critical role that natural and man-made water systems play in our communities. They protect our health and safeguard the environment,” said officials with the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.
DLNR is partnering with the Honolulu Board of Water Supply for this nationwide awareness event.
“Not having water is a reality for many people. Across Hawai‘i, some families still lack access to reliable and safe drinking water. They eagerly await the next rainstorm so they can collect and filter the water that falls on their rooftops. During periods of prolonged drought, their only options are filling containers at remote stations or paying high prices to have water delivered to their home,” according to department officials.
“Some rural communities in Hawai‘i actually live without water security,” said Commission on Water Resource Management Deputy Kaleo Manuel. “Streams continue to be diverted that impact instream biota and traditional and customary rights, water rates are increasing on private and public water systems, and some families have to make real decisions about whether to pay for electricity or water.”
Many of the water and wastewater infrastructure in Hawai‘i is aging and needs repairs or replacing. Department officials say climate change impacts, like sea-level rise and the increased threat of wildfires, put additional strains on these vital systems. Without adequate investment, water, wastewater, and stormwater management systems will continue to deteriorate, leading to serious consequences for people’s health, the environment, and the economy.
To imagine a day without water is to also reflect on the importance of natural water infrastructure, which is a key component of the hydrologic cycle. Thriving native forests ensure that groundwater aquifers are replenished, and streams continue to flow to the ocean. This allows for the practice of traditional and customary rights, thriving stream life, and productive nearshore waters.
“Healthy watersheds and mauka to makai stream flows not only ensure a robust and resilient water supply, but they also provide critical habitat to endemic species, promote biological diversity, and provide our water to all of us in Hawai’i,” DLNR Chairperson Suzanne Case said. “That’s why we must protect and nurture the natural ecosystems that are vital to the water cycle.”
Activities on Thursday include a live and interactive event called “One Water Forum,” with state and county leaders discussing the importance of water and the need to invest in water infrastructure. There will also be an Instagram contest with prizes for correctly answered water-related questions.
Imagine a Day Without Water is an opportunity to share why water is important to you, your business, and your community. Please take a few moments to reflect on how you can help to ensure that our freshwater resources are protected for generations to come.