In a statement issued by Water UK in February of this year, water and sewerage bills are set to rise on average in 2023 by £31 a year. Most water bills will now be around £448 per year. It was calculated that on average water would cost £1.23 per day – a rise of 8p from 20221.
With the rising cost of living and water companies increasing bills, collecting as much water as possible from natural resources can help towards reducing the cost of your water usage, and more importantly, it can reduce the negative impact that excessive water usage has on the environment.
Sustainability is key when thinking about collecting and conserving water. You don’t have to live off grid and draw your water supply from a well to contribute to the wellbeing of the planet. You just need to be clever about how you use what is already available.
No ‘buts’ – use a water butt
Using a water butt (you can have more than one, depending on the space available) to collect rainwater to water your plants can help save money and the earth’s resources. Installing a water butt underneath the roof or shed guttering will make use of overflow when it rains.
Rainwater collected will often be the ideal temperature for plants and it’s free – courtesy of nature itself. Not only can it help you save on water bills, but it can contribute towards saving the environment by reducing reliance on mains water supplies which, through their operation in pumping and treating water, produce carbon. It also takes the pressure off rivers and wetlands, helping conserve natural habitats of wildlife.
How can a watering can be more effective than a hosepipe?
Hosepipes can waste a lot of water. To give you an idea of the difference in water consumption between a watering can and a hosepipe, a mains water hose flow rate is usually around 6-10 litres per minute, so 15 minutes of use would add up to 90-150 litres per day or per watering session2. Compare this to a watering can which typically holds 5 litres of water, and with a watering session usually using 3 full watering cans on an average-sized garden, you would use only 15 litres per day, especially if you do ‘spot’ watering.
Dragging a hosepipe around the garden can also flatten delicate border plants. This is where precision watering with a watering can may not only save water but your flowers too. Focus on ‘spot’ watering specific plants (such as seedlings, younger plants, and trees) rather than soaking your whole garden, as established plants may not need as much hydration. Remember to water the base of the plant or tree instead of the leaves. Established plants will need less water as this will encourage roots to grow down into moist soil and become stronger.
Timing is everything
Watering your garden in the early morning or late evening is the optimum time for keeping your plants and flowers fresh. When you are watering in the middle of the day, the sun can often evaporate the water, making your task more difficult. Plants transpire faster (release water vapour, and absorb and release CO2) during the day, and slower during early morning or late evening. So watering your plants at the beginning or end of the day will help them absorb moisture.
A beautiful thatched or listed home usually has a wonderful garden, completing the property’s unique charm. Looking after your borders and lawns means they can be enjoyed in the present and conserved for the future.
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