05 November 2011

Water, water everywhere?

Or so we'd like to think, particularly after the recent floods, but 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 300ft and have never experienced a water shortage. Chatting to the shopkeeper in the local village however, we weren't alone this year - 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.

So what can gardeners do to help to preserve this precious resource?

Here are my top ten tips:

1.  Make sure there are no leaky taps, hoses or pipes in your property - fixing a leak can save up to 300 gallons 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 rather than under a running tap and use the water from the bowl to water plants.
(hidden at the back of house!)

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.  Place a sink under an outside tap for rinsing pots, vegetables etc.

8.  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. 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?


  1. 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!).

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.


Please feel free to leave a comment on my posts (if only to let me know that someone is reading them!)

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...