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.
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?