UH System EPSCOR Summary
Hawaiʻi depends exclusively on local water. The ‘Ike Wai project will provide data and models that address the grand challenge of water sustainability. A diverse workforce of data scientists and water researchers will work in concert with the community, government and business to inform decision makers with high-quality data and predictive capacity. The project incorporates indigenous and local communities, and its robust, inclusive and diverse human capital pipeline of undergraduates, graduate students, postdocs and junior faculty will address water challenges at the academic and policy level.
Systemwide Research Objectives
Collect new geological, hydrological, and geophysical data
We will collect new geological, hydrological, and geophysical data at previously unavailable spatio-temporal resolution to provide actionable models of Hawaiʻi’s aquifers, water flow, and transport processes. Geophysical imaging will provide new high-resolution 3D maps of geologic structures. Real-time down-well monitoring will support analysis of aquifer volume and hydraulic conductivity estimations. Flow and aquifer connectivity measurements will integrate three approaches: submarine groundwater discharge analysis, geochemistry and the use of microbial diversity as a groundwater tracer.
Create a transformative knowledge resource and modeling platform for water research and decision support
We will create a transformative knowledge resource and modeling platform for water research and decision support. The ʻIke Wai Integrated Knowledge Environment (IKE) will be a data repository, support numerical modeling with High Performance Computing, and advanced data visualization, creating a decision support tool for our water enterprise. IKE will be populated with new data, previously untapped legacy/historical agency data, and indigenous Hawaiian knowledge.
Build an inclusive and diverse pipeline of future water researchers and policymakers
As an integral part of the field data collection, sensor fabrication, and data analysis, our education program will build an inclusive and diverse pipeline of future water researchers and policymakers. Multi-level efforts in diversity and community engagement that span these objectives are framed by our Pacific island culture and Hawaiʻi’s pressing water issues. ʻIke Wai assembles a diverse team of hydrogeophysicists, modelers, volcanologists, engineers, visualization experts, social scientists, and educators, including seven new faculty hires in the University of Hawaiʻi System.