National gardening identity Jane Edmanson, from ABC TV’s Gardening Australia, says water savings can be made in the garden and around the home.
“You would be surprised at how many thousands of litres can be saved off your household’s annual tally by doing the little things. Waterwise gardening will make a big difference, as will simple things like showering for a minute or two less.”
In the garden, Jane has five top tips for water saving this summer:
1. Mulch, mulch, mulch. Mulching offers several benefits to your garden bed or pots. First a good layer of mulch will keep the moisture in, reducing the watering needs. Good quality mulch will also provide nutrients to the plants, as well as keep down any weed growth.
2. Use wetting agents and soil enhancers. Soil wetting agents simply help water penetrate different kinds of soil and be absorbed and retained. Soil enhancers are designed to improve the water and nutrient retention capacity, structure, aeration, quality and performance of growing media, and to
improve root and plant growth.
3. Install a rainwater tank. Even if you have limited space a small rainwater tank can provide an additional water supply for the garden, saving tap water for drinking. A larger tank can be plumbed to provide water for use in the laundry and toilet, making a significant saving to the annual water bill.
4. Use ‘smart’ watering systems. Controlled drip irrigation or smart sprinkler systems – where your regulations allow them – provide the right amount of water at the right time when gardens or lawns need it. Soil moisture sensors can monitor when the soil dries out and it needs further watering. It is
recommended though that a professional installer is used to make sure you get the best result.
5. Look for the Smart WaterMark symbol – over 150 products and services now carry this independent sign that shows they are proven to save water. It is an easy guide and is independently awarded so it can be trusted. Jane Edmanson should know – Jane is a member of the Independent Technical
Expert Panel which assesses products and services applying for the Smart WaterMark.
“We rigorously examine each product or service to make sure it lives up to its claims, before it is given the Smart WaterMark. The Expert Panel must be satisfied that water savings can be achieved or it makes a reasonable contribution to savings over time,” says Jane.
Smart WaterMark has five other ‘must do’ water-saving tips for around the home:
1. If you have a pool make sure you use a cover.
2. Wash your car with a waterless car wash or a low flow/high pressure cleaner.
3. Consider greywater systems to supply water for the garden – and help you save your drinking water for drinking.
4. Look for rebates on water saving products and services – see www.smartwatermark.org for rebates in your area.
5. Make a pledge to save water and help WaterAid programs in countries where every bucket of drinking water is precious.
Smart WaterMark launched the Every Bucket Counts campaign at the start of summer to encourage people to pledge to save water by installing rainwater tanks, using a pool cover and no water or low water car washes.
The web site www.smartwatermark.org has a complete listing of the products and services with the Mark, where to find them and any rebates offered, as well as the online calculators to help people work out how much water they can save around their homes.
“While it has rained in some areas across Australia in recent months there is widespread recognition that we need to be vigilant in the water we use everyday – not only because of its cost, but because we need to use it as efficiently as possible,” said Jane.