Opinion: The Other Threat to our Water Supply

Op-ed by Dr. Nicole Mahealani Lum
Published in Ka Wai Ola News | January 1, 2023

Climate change threatens Hawaiʻi’s clean water sources and endangers the health of our people.

The Navy fuel leakage into the tap water supply at Oʻahu’s military housing has sickened hundreds. The illness, displacement, and anxiety caused by this crisis reinforced the critical importance of protecting our waterways and maintaining access to clean water.

But fuel leaks are not our only worry; climate change is an underrecognized, long-standing threat to our water supply.

Climate change is here in Hawaiʻi. Now. We are experiencing more extreme weather, hotter temperatures, drought, and rising sea levels. As a doctor, I regularly see the health effects of these and other environmental changes.

The consequences of sea level rise are most obvious when king tides erode and destroy coastal homes and communities. But a lesser-known consequence is……READ FULL ARTICLE>


Dr. Nicole Mahealani Lum,  family medicine & geriatric medicine physician in Honolulu, HI, is the primary care physician, medical director of Ke Ola Mamo Native Hawaiian Health System, and a 2022 Climate & Health Equity Fellow. Mahealani is passionate about uplifting the health of the Native Hawaiian people, and learning how to reconnect Hawai’i communities to ‘āina (land-based) practices. Dedicated to community-based regeneration of our natural landscapes to restore health & wellness, Mahealani’s family leads land restoration efforts at Loko I’a Pā’aiau fishpond and Ka Mahi’ai ‘Ihi o Wailea maile farm.