Saving water in the home
You may be tired of everyone urging you to save water, but this natural resource has become very precious and we need to do everything we can to reduce usage.
Here in South Africa water restrictions are becoming the norm, especially during the summer months when we experience limited rainfall. But saving water shouldn't only be restricted when we're told to. Everyone should be actively looking for ways to save water in the home to protect and preserve this natural resource.
Our gardens can take a lot of water to keep them looking their best, but there are plenty of ways to save water in the garden and we look at some of the easiest methods to put into practice.
Establishing the perfect lawn can take years to get right, and it can also use a lot of water. Artificial lawn has grown dramatically in popularity as an alternative to a thirsty, high maintenance lawn, especially in smaller gardens. Artificial lawn requires little or no maintenance and is easy to install. If you have pets, it's easy to keep clean by simply hosing down when needed.
Adding ground such as gazania, aptenia (heartleaf), dymondia (carpet daisy), delosperma (trailing ice plant/pink carpet) and Plectranthus neochilus (smelly spur flower) and other drought-resistant groundcovers are good for beds and borders. Most varieties can withstand drought conditions and they will help to keep the soil coil and moist.
When establishing flower beds and borders, spend some time observing your garden at different times of day. This will allow you to determine where the shady spots are and which are the sun-drenched hot spots. Also check out wind directions in the different seasons to see where windbreaks can make a difference. Once you've made a note of everything, take this along to your local garden centre and let them advise on the best plants for your garden.
Rain Water Harvesting
You may be thinking that it is impossible to fit a water harvesting tank in your small garden, but there are rain water harvesting solutions for the smallest garden!
If you live in a free-standing unit with a smallish garden, JoJo Tanks’ Slimline range has a diameter of less than a metre and fits easily into narrow spaces. They can be positioned in alleyways along the side of your property or garage and will take up only a small space. These tanks can hold up to 2 000 litres of water – depending on the size - and are ideal for a small property.
If you have a slightly larger garden you can join several Slimline tanks together against a wall to harvest more water. Smaller models can fit through conventional doorways, and can be used in townhouses with shared internal walls.
Using Grey Water
Grey water is the water from your bathroom sink, from the bath and shower. It includes only washing water, and not waste from toilets, which is referred to as black water. About half the water the average household uses (and some estimates suggest 60 percent) is used to water the garden.
Why waste potable (drinkable) water for gardening, when you could cut your water usage by half by using grey water for your garden.
GOOD TO KNOW:
Avoid using water from washing machines and dishwashers – the detergents, soaps, bleaches and other chemicals they use contain harsh chemicals that are not good for plants.
Kitchen water is best avoided for watering the garden because of its high fat content.
Don’t allow grey water to pool or collect where children and pets may drink it.
Don’t use grey water in misters – it can cause the spread of disease.
Don’t use grey water if you or anyone else in your household is ill with an infectious disease.