Summer 2002 Home   Newsletters

Fall 2002

Winter 2002

President's Message (Maile Bay)
Gubernatorial Debate on Five Stations
League of Women Voters' Democracy Net
Voter Service Projects Keep League Busy
Hawaii Coalition Against Legalized Gambling
Story on Marion Saunders
Environment Committee (Malama Souza)
Board of Education Election
How to Contribute to the League without Spending a Penny
Hawaii State Judiciary
Local Leagues - Hilo (Lois Cecil)
Local Leagues - Kona (Marian Wilkins)
Local Leagues - Maui (Andrea Dean)
Local Leagues - Kauai (Carol White)
Local Leagues - Honolulu (Pearl Johnson)
Where Have All the Joiners Gone?

Environment Committee

In the last issue of the Ka Leo Hana, I was pleased to announce the formation of an Environment Committee, to be focused on sustainability in the use of water, land, and energy. Last month, committee members began investigating the equitable allocation of water resources. Chester Lao, geologist with the Board of Water Supply, presented information on Hawaii's geological history, background on the Board of Water Supply, and information on our state's hydrological resources.

Among other things learned during this meeting, we learned that there are many different sources of groundwater that the BWS has made available for municipal use, and that only water that falls over volcanic substrates contributes to groundwater recharge in our main aquifer. In other words, water that falls over caprock (which extends from sea level to about the 100-foot elevation level) percolates into a smaller, separate groundwater source; so, urban development over caprock does not affect main aquifer recharge. This is something not well understood by the general public, but important to help us further focus our study of issues of sustainable water and land use.

We also learned that infiltration rates (aquifer recharge rates) are greatest in forested areas and that cultivated fields provide greater infiltration than fallow fields or grasslands. This suggests that some of the benefits of keeping agricultural land in agricultural use needs to be documented and presented to our government representatives. It also underscores the need for sound land use policies and planning decisions. However, our speaker informed us that the mission of the Board of Water Supply is to find water and deliver it to where the need is; politics determines where the current need is and where future needs are developed. We hope to address some of these issues with a speaker from the State Water Commission in the near future.

Malama Souza


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