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Got Wai?

Wai. A word so important in ˋŌlelo Hawaiˋi that it is found in many, many words and place names. While we are surrounded by water here, wai- fresh water- is a critically important, and sometimes scarce, resource. As most of us have noticed lately, there’s not a lot of it falling from the sky. So little, in fact, that a number of people are having to order water trucks to come re-fill their catchment tanks. My Facebook and Nextdoor feeds have been flooded with questions and concerns about water shortage. I’ve tried everything I can think of to make it rain- I’ve hung laundry out to dry, I’ve washed my truck, I’ve put out fire ant bait, with all too little success. So, I started looking at local resources and tips to help in these dry times. Here is some information that could be helpful if you are facing the dry:


Some tips on conserving/capturing water

I’m sure we’ve all had that parent in our ears at some point telling us to not just let water run while washing dishes. Turns out, washing dishes by hand is significantly less efficient than washing them in the dishwasher (if you have one). If you don’t have a dishwasher, conservation experts suggest filling a tub full of soapy water to wash and a tub full of clean water to dry. If you do have a dishwasher, wait until it is full to run, and given the high costs of electricity here, try to run it during off-peak hours.

For your yard and lawn, if you raise your lawnmower blade from 1.5 inches to 2 inches, the roots of your grass will be better protected from periodic droughts. Same if you leave your lawn clippings on the lawn rather than capture them in a bag and compost them. For your garden, best use of water if you need to water plants and pots is to do so early in the morning, when less water will evaporate. Water more deeply, but less often. To check to see if plants and pots need water, stick your finger into the soil to a depth of 2-3 inches. If the top 2-3 inches is dry, it is time to water. Ironically, more plants die from being over-watered here than from being under-watered.

Additionally, many of us have catchment tanks as our sole source of household water. For uses that don’t require drinkable water, use buckets, rain barrels, or any other vessel that can capture and store water for shorter periods of time when it rains. Use this water for your plants and pots.

Water spigot locations

If you’ve reached the point where you need to refill or supplement your water supply, you can fill your own containers at one of the public water locations around the Island. Please see the map below for locations. These locations are open 24 hours.


Some water hauling providers

If you need a large fill up- say, for your catchment tank- there are a number of water haulers on the Big Island. Be advised, though, that it will not be cheap and many of them have bookings weeks in advance. As one hauler wrote on the Hawaiian Paradise Park Nextdoor page, they are sometimes receiving over 400 calls per day. If you can, don’t wait until your catchment tank is below 25% to schedule a fill. A recent web search returned these businesses who will haul water directly to your house:

JB Water Hauling                                         Lo’a Water Hauling

K&T Water Hauling                                      Kaleikau Water Service

Da Ka’u Water Guy                                      Water Man

ACR Water Hauling                                      J’s Island Wide Services


As an eternal optimist, I am going to run into town again today and have my truck washed. Maybe I’ll hang some laundry out the windows as I drive home with my new supply of fire ant bait to triple the odds of rain.

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