Waikiki Flooding concerns spur push for Hawaii shore protection

Honolulu, Hawaii - As rising sea levels caused by climate change overtake its white sand beaches and city streets hawaii’s iconic Waikiki Beach could soon be submerged.

Predicting Honolulu will begin experiencing flooding over the next 15 to 20 decades, state lawmakers are trying to pass laws that would spend tens of thousands for a coastline protection program aimed at defending the town from inundations.

The greatest tides of recent years have delivered seawater flowing across Waikiki Beach and onto streets and sidewalks lining its main thoroughfare, and interactive maps of the Hawaiian Islands reveal that many parts of the country are expected to be struck by extensive floodingand coastal erosion and loss of infrastructure in forthcoming years.

That’s an alarming scenario for a country where shore tourism would be the main driver of the market, leading to lawmakers to insist that planning for tides should start.

The project could concentrate on metropolitan Honolulu but behave as a pilot program for coastal communities around the country.

Even though Hawaii is seldom subjected to direct hurricane hits, Lee’s bill says warmer oceans will increase that risk by creating”more hurricanes of raising intensity” — and estimates that the effects of a significant hurricane making landfall in $40 billion.

“The reduction of coastal property and infrastructure, higher cost for storm damage and insurance, and loss in life are unavoidable if nothing can be achieved, which can add a significant burden to local taxpayers, the state’s economy, and way of life,” states Lee’s charge, which is very similar to actions taken by New York City after a storm surge from Superstorm Sandy contributed to $19 billion in damage in 2012.

The Hawaii measure proposes sinking $4 million over the following couple of decades into the growth of the program. Study is also sought by the bill into a carbon taxation that might raise funds and lower the state’s dependence on fossil fuels.

Lee said metropolitan areas like Waikiki are often”constructed in such a manner that it creates a protective barrier against the sort of storm events that are inevitable.”

But in more rural locations, he explained, new construction could be limited near shore”to preserve dune systems and assemble in a lot of organic solutions which are a lot more cost effective and supply a more resilient effect than just building concrete infrastructure or anything of this sort.”

In a state dominated by Democrats that’s frequently at the vanguard of all U.S. attempts to address climate problems, Lee stated the legislation proved popular.

The invoice is moving ahead two years following having a sea level rise adaptation report has been made public to serve as a guideline for potential legislative action and planning.

Research included in the report suggests Hawaii will observe that a 3-foot (0.9 meters) rise in ocean levels at the end of this century. It forecasts that more than 6,000 of the nation’s buildings and 20,000 individuals across all of Hawaii’s islands may experience chronic flooding. Dozens of miles of utility infrastructure, roadways and beaches will be washed off, ” the report stated. The nation’s ports and low-laying airports are also highly vulnerable.

The report has been updated to contained research warning that previous estimates of inundation regions in Hawaii were underestimated by 35% to 54 percent.

University of Hawaii researcher Tiffany Anderson, who led the research, said traditional sea level forecasts use what is known as the”bathtub model” to measure where water tends to rise and flood land. But she was amazed with the remarkable increase when she factored in variables such as shore erosion and wave energy fluctuations, which are not utilised in conventional climate change flooding forecasts revealed.

“We’ve long suspected procedures like coastline erosion, waves overtopping and inundation are added factors for Hawaii,” Anderson stated. “We discovered it covers much more land… I was not expecting such a huge increase because of the other two processes.”

State Rep. Nicole Lowen, a charge backer and Democrat, stated people expecting to build close to the shore should already be wary.

“It’d make sense already to say,’When we know that this is a sea level rise inundation area, then why do we allow a new structure,'” explained Lowen, who had been the lead author of separate legislation that would have changed construction permitting standards throughout the nation.

That measure died when it had been known to the Senate Ways and Means Committee and not scheduled for a hearing.

“I think sea level rise and climate change affects globally are going to have a massive disruptive effect on economies,” Lowen said. “And with a market that’s so heavily based on tourism and so easily impacted by something such as the cost of oil climbing, as an instance, it is not resilient”

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