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04 • 07 • 2022

Protecting Clean Water & Public Health in Hawai’i

By Lauren Blickley

In Hawaiʻi, life revolves around the water. As the Hawai’ian proverb says - Ola i ka wai.  Water is life. Our communities are dependent upon the ocean not only for recreation, but also celebrations, gatherings, sustenance, and cultural practices. Clean, ocean water is therefore not simply important - it is a necessity. 

Unfortunately, increasing development pressures over the last 150 years has resulted in declining water quality across the state. Outdated and failing wastewater infrastructure are major contributors to water pollution. Over 53 million gallons of partially treated sewage leach out of Hawaii's approximate 88,000 cesspools every day, contaminating  our drinking and recreational waters and damaging our coral reef ecosystems. 

Watch this short film to learn more about this issue and what our chapters in Hawai’i are doing to protect clean water and public health at the beach.

See where our Blue Water Task Force program is testing on Maui, O’ahu and Kaua’i, and view our water quality results here.

To keep track of our policy work to reduce sources of pollution and improve water quality monitoring and public health protection at the beach, visit Surfrider Hawai'i's regional website.

You can also join Surfrider in calling on Congress to support adequate water quality testing at your beach and at beaches across the U. S. by increasing funding for EPA’s BEACH Act Grants Program in the federal budget. We are also asking for federal investments in repairing and upgrading our nation’s wastewater infrastructure through the Clean Water State Revolving Program.  Just click here to send an email to your representatives in Congress to ask for their support for these critical clean water programs at EPA in the FY2023 federal budget.  

Surfrider activists from across Hawai'i came together on O'ahu in November 2021 to discuss strategies for protecting clean water and healthy beaches.