7 ways to appreciate water

World Water Day 2015

Water is essential to life and human health. Up to 60% of the adult human body is water. We can survive for weeks without food, but after 3-5 days, we need water or we’ll perish. Every day, we need water for drinking, cooking, personal hygiene, and sanitation.

In Hawaii, we have access to clean drinking water, clean sanitation systems, and a healthy ocean. But sometimes we take water for granted. On March 22, let’s celebrate World Water Day and take time to be thankful for our water-rich island life.

Here are 7 ways we can appreciate clean water, Hawaii’s watersheds, and healthy oceans:

1. Learn all about water basics. The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Water Science School has great resources about water basics, water properties, the water cycle, surface water, groundwater, water quality, and water use; as well as activities for students and classrooms.

2. Learn about water and human health. Project WET has a free, downloadable “Healthy Hydration” classroom activity guide. Students can learn about the role of water in the human body, proper hydration, and why water is essential to human life.

3. Be aware of your water usage. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply has a catchy program, “Seven Easy Ways to Save Water”; and a longer list of water conservation tips, “32 Ways to save water, from the watershed to your home.”

4. Discover Hawaii’s watersheds and wetlands. The Honolulu Board of Water Supply has a short introduction to Hawaii’s wetlands and “Rainforests and the Water Cycle.” The Pacific Coast Joint Venture has a beautiful downloadable brochure called “Hawaii’s Wetlands: Mauka to Makai” and a companion poster.

5. Educate yourself about Hawaii’s watersheds and public policy. Read “Hawaii Watershed Guidance” (2010), a report prepared for the Hawaii Office of Planning, Coastal Zone Management Program, to learn about the six steps in watershed management, the nine minimum elements of a watershed plan, and the management measures needed to demonstrate results.

6. Help keep our beaches clean. On March 28, 2015, 8:30 to 11 am, join a Plastic Free Hawaii Beach Cleanup at Ka’ena Point, Mokuleia, on Oahu. On March 28, 2015, join the Hawaii Wildlife Fund for a Kaʻū Community Coastal Cleanup event at Kamilo Point along the Waiʻōhinu coastal strand. Volunteers should RSVP to kahakai.cleanups@gmail.comand meet at Waiʻōhinu Park at 7:45am to carpool/caravan to the site.

7. Plan a rain garden or rain barrel project. Rain gardens can reduce the amount of stormwater and pollution that reaches Hawaii’s streams and the ocean. Rain barrels can store water for lawns and gardens, as well as reduce flooding and excess rain water runoff into storm drains. Hui o Ko’olaupoko’s “Hawaii Residential Rain Garden Manual” teaches us how to construct a rain garden, select plants and accent features, and maintain a healthy rain garden. Malama Maunalua’s “E Mālama I Nā ‘Āina Kumu Wai O Maunalua: A Watershed Handbook for the Residents of Maunalua” has a section about how to locate, install, and maintain a rain barrel.

Are you using water wisely? What are your best water conservation tips?

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