Can a 460 acre ranch run completely on catchment water with no well or county water? Kumau Ranch of North Kohala set that as a goal and has developed effective agricultural and residential water catchment systems varying from roof and gutter, to a living roof and tank, to large ranchland ponds that provide water for their cattle herd and family home and workshops. Our field trip to Kumau on March 8th was a chance to see an inspirational green built compound and to learn how securing adequate water has been an impetus for creative design.
How can a small ranch turn water from an agricultural ditch into so much hydropower it has at times had to turn ON appliances just to use up the excess power in order to keep the system in balance? And provide water for its agricultural and residential water needs plus replenish a seasonal stream flow? Star Seed Ranch was our second field trip destination on the 8th and thankfully the rain held back just long enough for us to enjoy both a tour of the hydroelectric pump house, electricity conversion and impressive battery storage system, and the garden systems it irrigates. The use of ditch water for power, reuse of that water for the ranch needs, and then overflow as recharge for the local stream bed was an impressive system to witness.