Climate change and global warming are indeed affecting the weather in South Maui, leading to increased rates of evaporation and higher water requirements for irrigation. This is putting stress on ground cover and native species, creating drought-like conditions12.
The changing weather patterns are affecting Hawaii’s ecosystems and freshwater resources3. As the planet warms, Hawaii’s dry regions are getting drier, heightening the fire risk4. At the same time, its wet areas are becoming wetter3. The drier parts of the state, in particular, have reason to be concerned about the future of fresh water available for residential, commercial, and agricultural uses4.
Water conservation issues are more important than ever, especially on the leeward sides of Haleakala where water resources are scarce5. The County of Maui Department of Water Supply has announced that mandatory water conservation is necessary for hotels, resorts, and other businesses, along with visitors and residents, of South Maui6.
Here are some recommendations for how to better conserve water and improve agricultural practices to use less water:
- Water your lawn only when needed7.
- Reduce automatic irrigation time7.
- Water when the sun is down to avoid evaporation7.
- Turn off the water faucet when washing dishes, brushing your teeth, or shaving7.
- Shorten the time when you shower or only partially filling tub for baths7.
- Check around your property for leaks7.
- Use low-flow fixtures7.
- Refrain from washing cars, sidewalk, driveways, and irrigating lawns78.
- Use water-efficient appliances and toilets7.
- Fix leaks7.
- Position sprinklers so water doesn’t land on paved areas7.
In terms of improving agricultural practices, the USDA’s Natural Resources Conservation Service (NRCS) works one-on-one with farmers, ranchers, and foresters to help them implement conservation practices and approaches that conserve water while at the same time improving the health of their lands9. This includes practices like irrigation pipeline, cover crops, and residue and tillage management (No-Till)9.
Please note that while these recommendations can help conserve water and improve agricultural practices, they may not completely alleviate the effects of climate change and global warming. It’s important to continue supporting and advocating for larger-scale efforts to address these global issues.