Unfortunate corners of this earth (northern China, parts of Australia, and Somalia, just to name a few) suffer from chronic water shortages. Our beloved island in Panama, Isla Palenque, does not have this problem. But in the interest of conserving energy and avoiding water wastefulness, we are doing three major things that will respect the natural water reserves on Isla Palenque. By utilizing these three techniques, our engineers have estimated that our water usage may be as low as half that of a typical resort.
First, we employ low-flow fixtures at most water outlets, such as faucets, showerheads, and toilets. Our toilets, for example, are the dual-flush Toto Aquia model, which allow the user to select the water usage required to meet their needs.
Second, we harvest rainwater at select key locations, and we will use that water for additional irrigation needs, especially at our organic farm.
Third, we treat all wastewater to standards that will allow us to reuse the water for irrigation purposes, essentially allowing us to use all water that is pumped out of the ground twice before returning it to our aquifer.
Because of the very privileged aquifer underneath Isla Palenque, we are not using as much rainwater harvesting and greywater technologies as we might in, for example, the Bahamas. Isla Palenque is an unusual island with respect to its underlying aquifer: this natural water reserve is so large that our engineers estimate that we could actually meet all of our resort’s needs even without using any of the aforementioned conservation techniques. Our use of the techniques come more from wanting to save the energy associated with pumping the water out of the ground than from a dearth of on-site water.
Think of the island as one large 400-acre rainwater-harvesting system itself (see below example of an island aquifer, pinched from the USGS). Because of our low-density development, large nature preserve, and method of treating wastewater, we help to keep our aquifer clean and protected. And as long as we preserve and protect this aquifer, our needs for man-made water harvesting solutions will remain minimal.