Rainwater harvesting: another step towards Army sustainability

As we’ve noted before, the US military has been at the forefront of sustainability efforts for some time now… from green building to renewable energy, all branches of the armed forces see effective resource management as a top priority for security and readiness.

Energy’s been the top focus here, but now a new project at the Army’s Schofield Barracks in Hawaii experiments with another critical resource: water. The Army’s building a rainwater harvesting system for the building designed not only to save water and energy, but also to demonstrate how installation readiness goals can be met by taking the local resource base into account.

The Army chose a Hawaiian site for a relatively simple reason: rain is plentiful. Installations in the islands, in fact, have become first choices for sustainability experiments because, as Carolyn Killian, the garrison’s sustainability programs manager, notes, “We are fortunate to have abundant renewable natural resources in wind, water and solar… Few other places have all three available to them year-round.”

This site had another advantage: according to Tina Casey at Cleantechnica, “Instead of shipping in a new piece of equipment, the Army will reclaim an existing abandoned tank found on the site.”

No doubt having an independent water supply makes a lot of sense for a military base (even if this experiment will use the water only for landscaping). Other armed forces experiments in sustainability have focused on troops in the field and the vulnerability of supply lines, so I’ll be interested to see if experiments with rainwater harvesting go in that direction next.


Image credit: Hayley Diamond, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii Directorate of Public Works