Water Resources in American Samoa: Law and Policy Opportunities for Climate Change Adaptation

by Richard Wallsgrove and Zena Grecni

Publisher: Honolulu: East-West Center
Publication Date: 2016
Binding: paper
Pages: 32
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Freshwater resource managers in American Sāmoa are facing climate change issues. A projected increase in frequency and intensity of extreme rainfall events, rising sea level, and rising air temperature are among these climate-related dynamics. This confirms the need for effective climate change adaptation strategies, particularly with respect to protecting water quality. The existing law, policy, and management framework for American Sāmoa's freshwater resources is somewhat fractured, consisting of overlaid US federal environmental laws and regulations, territorial laws and policies, utility management of groundwater, and village-based management of surface water. This framework presents both challenges and opportunities, but foundational adaptive needs--such as resource monitoring, awareness, and continuing climate research--are pressing. This work identifies nine opportunities to enhance adaptive capacity within American Sāmoa's existing law and policy framework.