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Water flowing out of faucet

The U.S. Department of the Navy and the University of Hawaiʻi have agreed to formally collaborate on water and energy resilience in the State of Hawaiʻi, after signing a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in March 2022. The MOU formalizes the Navy’s support of UH conducting and coordinating independent scientific and engineering research on the state’s water and energy resilience. The Office of Naval Research (ONR) will be providing funding for the effort and Naval Facilities Engineering and Expeditionary Warfare Center (NAVFAC EXWC) is providing support and services.

UH shares a mutual vision with the Navy for education, practice, and research to promote water resilience and safety, and health and environmental mitigation, as well as climate resilience and coastal adaptation,” said UH Vice President for Research and Innovation Vassilis Syrmos. “UH has assembled a team of hydrologists, engineers, chemists, ecologists, geographers, political scientists, economists, and social scientists. The interdisciplinary team in collaboration with ONR and NAVFAC EXWC spearheads efforts aimed at enhancing water security and resilience in the Pacific region by developing planning models and tools that will enable proactive decision-making. The end result: more effective water management, stronger water security, and enhanced protection of national security.”

An ONR grant was awarded to UH for science and technology development, including hydrology research in August 2022, and UH efforts are underway to initiate research and support field work. Future efforts will expand on water and energy resilience.

The Navy is working with the Hawaiʻi State Department of Health (DOH) as DOH collaborates with the UH Red Hill Task Force on tap water sampling to ensure water testing is based on Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-certified methods.

“We are glad to see academics at UH and the regulators at DOH come together to ensure that the UH screening tool matches up with DOH and EPA approved testing protocols to provide clear, reliable water quality information to the community,” said Meredith Berger, Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment. “Clear information and safe drinking water are important for everyone.”

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