Green

10 Tips for Saving Water

November 5, 2011
dripping water

Photo Credit: UltraBobban

Water, water everywhere – or so we’d like to think, particularly after the recent floods. However, during early October and for the first time since we’ve lived on the top of the hill, our well ran dry and we suffered a water shortage. It was a bit of  a shock as we’ve had such a wet summer (again) but the taps stopped flowing and our appliances flashed ‘no water’ alerts, despite being A rated.

We have a deep well, almost 300 ft and have never experienced a water shortage. Chatting to the shopkeeper in the local village however, we weren’t alone – several residents at the bottom of the hill had suffered a shortage too. In a way it’s not surprising with the demands of modern-day life putting pressures on our supplies. Most households in Ireland now have dishwashers, washing machines, showers and baths, all demanding an instant water supply from water fit for drinking, and as much as people dislike the idea of water meters being installed, it will make us think about how much we’re using..

So what can gardeners do to help to preserve our precious drinking water?

10 Tips for Saving Water:

1. Fix leaky taps, hoses or pipes in your property – fixing a leak can save up to 1,135 litres (300 gallons) of drinking water a month.

2. Spread organic mulch around plants as this helps to retain moisture.

3. Valve off outside taps during frosty winter months but leave tap open (to prevent pipes bursting).

4. Wash fruit and vegetables in a bowl and not under a running tap and use the water from the bowl to water plants.

5. Collect water from your roof gutters to water the garden. There are many types of attractive water containers for this purpose or you can recycle – we installed a system this year using a discarded builders container and our old well pipe.

6. Install a timed irrigation system for watering plants/polytunnels/containers.

Upcycle a Belfast Sink to collect water

7. Upcycle an old hand basin. Place a sink under an outside tap for rinsing pots, vegetables etc.

8. Adjust mower settings. When cutting your lawn, adjust your mower to a higher setting – a longer lawn shades the roots and prevents it drying out as quickly.

9. Water plants only when necessary. More plants die from over watering than under watering.

10. Switch off the tap. Finally when you’re washing your hands after a hard day’s gardening, put the plug in the sink rather than letting the tap run.

If householders are doing their bit, what are the scientists doing about the water crisis? I enjoyed watching this recent news clip telling us how solar panels are being used to convert sea water.

What do you do? Do you have any more tips for saving water in the garden?

Photo credit: ultraBobban via photopin cc

5 Comments

  • Reply rowanhillliving November 7, 2011 at 11:53 am

    You have me worried now! Like yourselves, we live on top of a hill, and our well is some 275ft deep…How did you get your supply re-established?

    Do you know if you have any farmers pumping water for agricultural use? That would obviously completely dwarf any and all domestic usage. That said, our neighbour had a very nasty tendency to leave his hose on overnight during the summer (which I abhor!).

  • Reply Greenside Up November 7, 2011 at 2:01 pm

    Thankfully it rained lots over the following few days which seems to have done the trick, but does make you think. Our pump and hose were replaced last year so we knew that wasn't the problem. Yes, the farmer next door does have a hose and sometimes it is left to overflow when he's filling his water tank. Several new houses have been built here since we moved and I often wonder whether that's made the difference regarding the supply/demand.

  • Reply Jono / Real Men Sow November 10, 2011 at 11:10 pm

    Good tip about washing in a bowl rather than leaving the tap running, I'm really guilty of that one.

    I plant my squashes, courgettes etc in a little dip so that I can water around the roots and the water stays in around that area where its needed. Have found this has meant I water these plants less.

  • Reply Greenside Up November 11, 2011 at 10:40 am

    I noticed someone in a workplace do it recently Jono, by the time I'd mentioned putting the plug n the bowl, they'd finished washing about 20 carrots under a running tap. I like the tip on the squashes too. We used upturned water bottles for ours until we installed the irrigation but think the dip would give more even watering.

  • Reply Do you have any climate change concerns?Greenside Up September 19, 2015 at 10:26 pm

    […] own piece of white paper in the Self Help Africa tent I wrote down ‘save more water’. I’ve written several posts about this topic on the blog. We have a natural well that’s prone to running dry occasionally so know first hand how […]

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