Preparing South Maui for a Future with Climate Change and Sea Level Rise

South Maui, Hawaii, is facing the imminent threats of climate change and sea level rise. These threats pose significant risks to property, the environment, and infrastructure. This article discusses the steps being taken in South Maui to prepare for these challenges and the measures that must be implemented to prevent property loss, environmental damage, and infrastructure destruction.


Climate change and sea level rise are global issues that have local impacts. In South Maui, these impacts are expected to be significant due to the region’s geographical location and topography. The potential consequences include property loss, environmental damage, and infrastructure destruction. However, South Maui is not standing idle in the face of these threats. The region is actively preparing for a future with climate change and sea level rise12.

Preparing for Climate Change

The County of Maui has developed its first Climate Action and Resiliency Plan (CARP), a comprehensive strategy for mitigating and adapting to climate change throughout the county2. The plan includes 25 climate mitigation strategies and 83 supporting actions aimed at reducing community-wide greenhouse gas emissions by 76% by 20502. It also identifies 22 resilience strategies and 84 supporting actions to prepare for and strengthen resilience to potential climate threats2.

Preventing Property Loss

To prevent property loss, the guidance of the Sea Level Rise Exposure Area (SLR-XA) is being used to keep development away from potential flood areas3. New structures must be located landward, and there must be coordinated efforts to address possible relocation of at-risk structures3.

Preventing Environmental Damage

Preventing environmental damage is more effective than responding to ecological harm and does more to mitigate potential climate change effects4. Protecting the fragile and precious natural environment on Maui County’s islands begins with reducing our carbon footprint4. But it also requires resolute, proactive leadership4.

Preventing Infrastructure Destruction

To prevent infrastructure destruction, the County of Maui is implementing a three-pronged approach to addressing how sea level rise will impact its shoreline: restoring and protecting coastal dunes; updating erosion-based shoreline setbacks; and planning for post-disaster reconstruction5. In addition, Hawaiian Electric has requested to spend $189 million on climate resiliency efforts over the next five years, including protection against wildfires and downed power lines6.


South Maui is proactively preparing for a future with climate change and sea level rise. Through comprehensive planning and implementation of mitigation and adaptation strategies, the region is planing significant steps to prevent property loss, environmental damage, and infrastructure destruction. However, the fight against climate change is ongoing, and continuous efforts are needed to ensure the safety and sustainability of South Maui.


: South Maui Community Plan Update: Natural Hazards and Climate Change Technical Resource Paper1 : Maui County’s first Climate Action Resiliency Plan2 : Community plans help to address resiliency for climate change impacts3 : Collaborating to protect Maui County’s environment4 : Maui County: Three strategies for sea level rise adaptation5 : How a devastating combination of conditions triggered America’s …7 : What’s driving Maui’s devastating fires, and how climate change is …6