Water Resource Sustainability Issues on Tropical Islands Conference

The Water Resources Research Center at the University of Hawaii at Manoa (Dr. Chittaranjan Ray, Interim Director) in cooperation with the Virgin Islands Water Resources Research Institute (Dr. Henry H. Smith, Director), the Puerto Rico Water Resources and Environmental Research Institute (Dr. Jorge Rivera-Santos, Director), and the Water and Environmental Research Institute of the Western Pacific in Guam (Dr. Gary Denton, Director) are organizing a conference on the general theme of water and wastewater sustainability issues in island environments. These four centers (along with 50 others in the continental United States) operate under the US Geological Survey’s Water Resources Research Institute Program to address problems and issues of water and wastewater management that affect our regions with programs of targeted research.

November 14 – 16, 2011

: Ala Moana Hotel, Garden Lanai
The conference will be held at the Ala Moana Hotel, situated close to Waikiki and
next door to the world's largest outdoor shopping complex (Ala Moana Center).


Tropical oceanic islands share many of the same water and wastewater problems and issues despite the diverse hydrological and geomorphological factors, climate, and degree of development. By collaborating with our fellow research scientists and representatives,
we hope to increase the effectiveness of our programs in addressing our common island water issues

Because of our geographic isolation, limited physical resources, unique ecosystems, and susceptibility to natural disasters, tropical islands face immediate challenges in meeting our populations’ demand for water and ensuring safe and environmentally sound disposal of wastewater.

With limited recourse to water importation, our islands are completely dependent on the resources that nature provides. Increasing populations and changeability of rainfall regimes require a greater degree of preparedness than that needed in most continental regions. Some of our islands, such as Hawaii and Puerto Rico, are blessed with substantial groundwater storage, while on others geological conditions severely limit groundwater availability. On some islands, desalination, powered by imported fuel, provides the drinking water at a high cost. On others, residents perforce rely mostly on rainwater catchment.

Improper wastewater disposal and non-point source pollution can have devastating effects on islands’ nearshore waters. Most island states are heavily dependent on these waters either for direct food collection or for the tourist dollars that put food on our tables. Either way, the protection of this resource is of paramount importance.

The four island water-center directors will meet to share their institutes’ results, perspectives, and potential solutions to these concerns. By collaborating in this way, we hope to learn from our fellow island research scientists and increase the effectiveness of all of our programs in addressing our common island water issues.

We invite all researchers, managers, utility providers, students, and decision-makers with an interest in island water supply and sanitation to join us in Honolulu. The directors from all four island regional water centers will attend as will researchers from many other regions. We especially encourage the participation of our colleagues from other islands with whom we generally have limited interaction owing to our geographical and political separation.


Special Sessions:
  • Wastewater
  • Flooding
  • Climate
  • Water Resources Availability and Management
  • Groundwater Quality
  • Groundwater Recharge
  • Surface Water Quality
  • Water for Energy
  • Submarine Groundwater Discharge
        Panel Discussion:  Guam Water Resources Management Study
                            Hydrogeology Education

        Poster Session will cover these and other subjects