What is “Catchment”?

Catchment is a system of providing water to a home or farm by capturing rain water from the roof and storing it in a cisten or catchment system. Its then pumped into the home or farm buildings. If you wonder why you see so many metal roofs, especially on the Big Island, its because metal roofs are one of the best roofing materials to use with catchment (can you imagine what the water would be like after running across asphalt shingles?).

Is It Safe?

It can be very safe depending on the design of the system and the methods of filtration used. Trisha Macomber of the University of Hawaii has studied it extensively and has written an excellent booklet on how to do catchment systems safely and effectively. You can order a copy or download the booklet here.

Many people on the Big Island prefer to use their catchment water for washing, bathing, etc, but not for cooking or drinking. The county has a number of stations around the island where people can stop and fill their own water bottles for use in cooking and drinking.

Do You Get Enough Water?

In most areas on the east side of the Big Island — yes. Its usually not a problem. On those times when we’re in a drought, there are water services that will deliver water to help refill your catchment system. The prices are ususally quite reasonable.

Is the Catchment System Expensive?

You can spend as little or as much as you want to set it up. A basic setup can cost as little as a few thousand dollars, or an underground concrete system could run you quite a bit more. Maintaining the system is not expensive and only requires that you have someone come out periodically to clean it. Most people do that every couple of years at a cost of few hundred dollars. If it needs a new lining or cover, those are also quite reasonably priced.

What Subdivisions Don’t Use Catchment?

Of the ones on our subdivision page for Puna, the subdivisions with access to either county or private water systems are:

  • Hawaiian Beaches, Shores and Parks
  • Lanipuna Gardens
  • Kaimu-Makena Houselots
  • Kapoho Beachlots
  • Kapoho Vacationland

A few lots (VERY few) in Nanawale and Hawaiian Paradise Park have access.

In Nanawale, lots along the main road (Nanawale Boulevard) and on Kehau up to the ballfield may be able to connect to county water.

In Hawaiian Paradise Park, lots along the highway and those on Paradise Drive up to the fire station may be able to connect to county water.