Water Conservation: Where does your water come from?

Where does your water come from?

This is a question that most people don’t ask themselves.

children playing new water reservoir Big island
Children play in celebration of Kapapala Ranch’s newest reservoir, Kulawaiho’opili. Ka’u, Hawai’i Island

Water catchment is one of the most valuable things in the world. The water that comes out of your faucet came from somewhere.

Rainfall is our primary water resource for groundwater supply. Healthy watersheds —  layers of forest or vegetation that collects water — sustain the quality and quantity of the water we use on the daily. The islands capture rainfall using watersheds from mountain ranges. Rain is collected from the tallest, or emergent trees, all the way down to groundcover plants which protect the soil and minimize water lost to evaporation.

Hahai no ka ua, i ka ululä’au : The rain follows the forest

water catchment sustainability conservation
Reservoir Type Water Catchment System: Kapapala Ranch Ka’u, Big Island of Hawai’i

Invasive plant and animal species, excessive human foot traffic, and deforestation are just a few ways our precious watersheds are threatened. Everybody should take responsibility to preserve and protect our resourceful watersheds.

Saving the worlds trees are all part of continuing water conservation. Trees play an important role in the capture and filtering of rain water and precipitation formed by moisture and fog.

Uë ka lani, ola ka honua : The heavens cry, the earth lives

Harvesting rainwater ourselves reduces our need to import this costly water, supply us with additional water during dry seasons, and reduce urban runoff that pollutes our natural bodies of water. The ability to catch natural rainfall for your own daily use is one of the most sustainable practices and nature provides it to us for one specific reason: to survive.

Conventional building practices such as larger cities and developments with large areas of hard cemented ground keeps water from soaking into the ground.

Homemade water catchment system Big Island
Caretakers of our land build a new water tank which will last a few decades. Puna, Hawai’i

Building a home-made water catchment system is one of the first steps towards living a sustainable life. Whether you need it for a more efficient household or a farm operation, the design and the amount of capture can be entirely up to you. It can be as simple as funnels and bottles, rain gutters into water tanks/barrels with overflow catchment, or a reservoir type catchment system.

Homemade rainwater catchment completed project
The completed water tank which receives rainfall from house roof and gutters. Puna, Hawai’i

It is possible to capture approximately 600 gallons of water per inch of rainfall within a 1,000 square foot area. Check your community Board of Water Supply website and learn how you can create ways to catch your own water and not only save money long term, but save our precious water supply.

For every gallon of water that goes to waste, a gallon of water is much needed elsewhere. If water catchments became mainstream, imagine how much more our earth could thrive.

Rainwater catchment ideas barrel
Simple ways to catch water. Source: www.treepeople.org

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