Because over 70% of the Earth is covered in water, it is often a resource that we take for granted, especially in this part of the world. But, only 2% of this water is suitable for drinking. With water consumption rates rising, water conservation is something we can all do to help protect our Earth’s most precious resource.
Water conservation is reducing the amount of water you use and recycling waste and rain water. Not only does this reduce your water utility bill, it also prevents pollution in nearby lakes, rivers, and watersheds.
There are many ways for you to practice water conservation while gardening at home:
- Collect rainwater in a barrel or cistern. Remember to keep it covered with a screen to prevent mosquitoes from breeding or use biological mosquito control briquettes to kill mosquitoes before they are able to bite.
- Build a rain garden and divert rain water runoff towards it. See the section on Rain Gardens for more information.
- Test soil moisture before watering and only water when necessary.
- Water lawn less frequently and more deeply. This will also encourage the roots to grow down and become more established.
- Adjust all irrigation system outlets so you are not watering the pavement.
- Do not water in the heat of the day or when the wind is too strong.
- When planting, group together plants that require similar light and moisture conditions. This will reduce the need for additional watering.
- Plant drought tolerant plant material and/or install a dry creek bed to utilize rainwater runoff for irrigation.
- Use mulch for moisture retention.
- Use drip irrigation systems as opposed to overhead sprinklers.
- Keep lawn free of weeds. Healthy lawns require less watering.
- Mow higher and less frequently.
- Use a broom to clean pavement, not the hose.
- Do not use the sprinkler just to cool off or for play, combine these activities with lawn and garden watering.
- When washing your car, only have the hose on for initial wetting and final rinsing; or, use commercial car wash, where they are required by law to recycle water.
- Use shut off nozzles on all hoses and faucets.
Also remember to check the taps inside your home to ensure they are not leaking. Even a small drip can waste hundreds of litres of water per week!