By Nina Wu
World Water Day is Saturday, March 22.
There is, perhaps, no more important resource than water, earmarked as one of the grand challenges of the 21st century. Water and energy are closely interlinked and interdependent, according to the United Nations.
Water, a resource we so often take for granted, is not an infinite resource.
That message hit home for California residents, who were urged to conserve water amid severe drought conditions this year.
In Hawaii, we are just as vulnerable. In particular, the health of our forests plays a key role in maintaining our water supply, which is vital to agriculture and tourism. See "The Rain Follows The Forest," a video by the state Department of Land and Natural Resources, to learn more.
Here are some ways to celebrate World Water Day in Hawaii this year:
>> Plastic Free Hawai‘i Beach Cleanup, check-in 8:30 a.m., cleanup from 9 to 11 a.m. at Kahuku Beach, James Campbell Wildlife Refuge. Bring a reusable water bottle, hat and sunscreen. Visit www.fb.com/PlasticFreeHawaii.KHF or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
>> Rain barrel catchment workshop. From 10:30 a.m. to noon Saturday, April 12 at Halawa Xeriscape Garden, 99-1268 Iwaena St. Collect rain water to reduce the amount of drinking water used for irrigating landscapes. Offered by the Board of Water Supply and Friends of Halawa Xeriscape Garden. Cost is $35 for lecture and a pre-drilled, 55-gallon water catchment barrel and hose bib (or $5 for lecture only). Call 748-5363 or email email@example.com to register.
>> Opt for a reusable water bottle. Last week, San Francisco's Board of Supervisors voted to ban bottled water from city property and events and food trucks. Many national parks like the Grand Canyon have also taken this step. Many people drink bottled water because they believe it to be of higher quality, but that may not be the case, say environmental advocates. Tap water is regulated by the EPA, and bottled water by the FDA. According to Ban the Bottle, 24 percent of bottled water sold in the U.S. is either Pepsi's Aquafina (13 percent) or Coke's Dasani (11 percent) — both of which are simply purified municipal water. A high-quality filter may help you save money and bottles.
>> Build a rain garden. Rain gardens help stop water runoff, the greatest source of pollution of Hawaii's streams and coastal waters. There's a free manual online from Hui o Ko‘olaupoko. Also, if you want to learn more, the Waikiki Aquarium is hosting a free rain garden workshop from 6 to 7 p.m. on Tuesday, March 25.