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?