Saving water has never been more important in the UK. The Environment Agency declared that the UK will not be able to meet demands for water in 25 years, with climate change and population growth both being factors for this conclusion. It was advised that water usage be reduced by 40 litres a day, around a third of the water used by UK citizens (ref), (ref) and reducing water use in gardens is a great way to reach this goal. There are many ways to achieve this:
- Collecting rain water is one way to reduce water intake, this can be done by diverting water from drainage systems into a water butt or even a wheelie bin. (ref)
- Water can be reused from baths, showers, boiling foods etc. These grey waters can save a lot of water, but some may hold chemicals which are too strong for plants, weaker chemicals are fine for use. (ref) Avoid using chemical grey water on edible plants. (ref)
Plants and Soil
- Specific plants are also drought resistant, meaning they can resist the heat and lack of water for a longer period of time. These plants will not need to be watered as much as other species of plants. (ref) Some ideas of drought resistant plants can be found here. An alternate to this is to buy and native plant species, as these plants are used to the climate and precipitation rates in the UK.
- Water plants when they show signs of wilting, this can save water but also ensure they have a healthy root system. (ref)
- Weeding regularly can be an effective way of saving water (ref) as it ensures that water is not being wasted on an undesirable plant.
- A brown lawn may not need watering, and it should recover when it next rains. (ref)
- Overwatering can be an issue, however, generally, if a soil is damp, it is fine, if not, it will need watering (this differs dependant on soil type). (ref)
- Plants should be watered in the early mornings or in the evenings when it is cooler and less evaporation will occur. (ref)
- Soil health is also key to water retention, and healthy soil with organic matter can retain water for longer, reducing the need to water as often. (ref)
- Mulching soil areas by plants can also reduce water loss as it prevents water's contact with the sun and reduces the evaporation rate. (ref)
Watering equipment and garden infrastructure
- Sprinklers and hoses can both waste a lot of water and should be replaced for automated irrigation systems or seep hoses, which are both more precise and use less water. (ref) A watering can can also use less water than a hose, (ref) and still direct water exactly where it is needed, unlike a sprinkler.
- Permeable pavements ensure that water will not runoff as waste. (ref)
- Check water equipment regularly to ensure there are no leaks. (ref)
There is a water crisis in the UK and in many other places in the world. Due to this, water needs to be conserved to ensure its sustainability. There are ways to ensure the garden uses less water, such as drought resistant plants, reusing water and the timing when plants are watered. Taking into consideration the information above, water consumption can be reduced and help to ensure that a garden is environmentally friendly.