Australia is one of the driest countries in the world, so it’s fairly likely most people have experienced living with varying levels of water restrictions at some point. For all the green thumbs out there, water restrictions can be demoralizing when you put so much love into your garden only to watch it wilt and burn over the summer months. To give some context, according to an article published by National Geographic, Australia is the world’s driest inhabited continent with an average rainfall of around 470mm a year, well below the global average. And when rain does it fall in Australia, it is concentrated in certain areas such as the north and east coasts, with other parts of the country experiencing extreme drought year on year. It’s up to all of us to be mindful of water conservation and where applicable, adhere to relevant water restrictions. Reducing our water consumption doesn’t have to be all bad, we just have to be smart about how we use water which may involve a little bit of extra effort to set up but is worth it in the long run for the environment and your wallet!
Our top water-saving tips to help you make the most of the precious commodity and keep your garden alive this summer.
According to research conducted by the Queensland Government, a slowly dripping tap can waste as much as 9,000 litres of water a year, and a running toilet as much as 60,000. The best way to check for leaks is to turn your water supply off completely and take note of the meter reading. Wait a few hours and read it again, if it has ticked over there must be a leak somewhere. Investing in good-quality hoses and fittings will also decrease the likelihood of leaks and be more durable in the long run.
Make the most of it when it does rain by collecting rainwater! In a country as dry as ours, this is a no-brainer. You’ll need to have a tank and appropriate accessories to set it up, but once it’s set up, you can sit back with your feet up and wait for the rains! We have written few blog articles dedicated to harvesting rainwater including the harvesting system, accessories and appropriate rainwater tanks to get you on your way. Read them here.
We also have a very handy tool where you can work out what volume of water you can harvest based on your location and roof size. Try it here water storage calculator.
Recycling your greywater rather than just letting it go down the drain is a great way to keep your garden looking fresh and happy, and save you on your water bill. You can either do this by redirecting waste water into a bucket or sink and manually ferrying it outside, or by purpose fitting outlet pipes that pump directly onto your garden or lawn. If you are doing this, be mindful of the type of detergent you are using, as some chemicals can be harmful to your garden plants. To learn more about greywater and how to best utilise it, Greywater Action is a great resource to visit.
Choosing plants that are more suited to the Australian climate can save you a lot of disappointment in the garden. If you live in an area where it’s hot and dry, you might want to consider native species over tropical plants. Homes to Love has a great guide on how to pick Australian native plants for your garden. If you have plants in pots, be mindful that the type of pot can influence the amount of water going to the plant. Untreated, terracotta pots can absorb water meaning your plants aren’t getting as much benefit from your watering efforts. Consider self watering pots as an option and for plants that are in the garden, mulching and composting around them goes a long way in ensuring moisture is kept in the soil.
Here’s a few simple things we can all be mindful of in the home to decrease our water usage:
• Always ensure washing machine and dishwasher loads are full before running and use eco settings where possibleâ€¨
• Turn off tap when brushing your teeth or washing dishesâ€¨
• Keep showers short, and collect water in a bucket to put on garden once cooledâ€¨
• Check all taps for leaksâ€¨
• Keep a jug of cold water in the fridge for drinking to avoid leaving tap running waiting for temperature to coolâ€¨
• Keep water that's been used for boiling/steaming vegetables and use it to water the garden once cool. The nutrients in the water also act as a natural fertilizer!â€¨
At Orion, we’re passionate about water conservation and harvesting rainwater wherever possible to make us all more water efficient. We have a wide range of rainwater tanks on our website, and we also love a friendly chat so give us a call to discuss the best options for harvesting rainwater for you.
Call us on 1800 52 784 for more information.