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Water Butts - Save Water and Money
Water Butts - how to save water and money
Despite the weather we experienced in the summer of 2008 in the UK it is possible that we have hot and dry weather and during these periods water used in the garden can increase your water usage and bills dramatically, with estimates as high as 50% of total usage being used outdoors.
One way to save water and money is to install a water butt. It has been estimated that if every household in the UK used a standard size water butt it would save about 30,000 million litres of water each summer from being piped to their doors - that is enough to fill a reservoir and would reduce the strain on pumping stations and chemical treatment works (your plants do not need high quality, chemically treated water - they have survived on rainwater for thousands of years).
During the year thousands of litres of rainwater falls on an average house roof and it is possible to collect this rainwater and use it on your garden during dry spells. There are many methods of "harvesting" the rainwater, the author has a simple arrangement on his garden shed where the water from the roof goes into a water butt behind the shed and any excess is allowed to overflow as it would normally. During the past 8 years the water butt has never been empty and has been used during several summers to help keep new plants and vegetables such as potatoes growing during dry spells.
It is best to water plants thoroughly once a week rather than damping the surface of the ground every day. Daily dribbles of water encourage roots to develop near the surface rather than grow downwards. One method of watering the roots is to sink a flowerpot or tube (such as a upside down plastic drinks bottle with the bottom cut off) into the ground near the plants. You then put water into the pot or tube and the water you deliver will go directly below ground level to nearer the roots. Watering only when needed ensures that the supply of water in the water butt lasts much longer and is doing more good in the garden.
Types of Water Butts
There are several types of water butt available in the UK, these include:-
How do I install a Water Butt ?
These instructions assume that you will be fitting the water butt onto the downpipe from the guttering of your house using a rain diverter kit, although as the picture above shows it is possible to just divert the downpipe into the waterbutt (if you do this you need to think about what will happen to the water when the butt is full).
Before You Start
You will need :-
Along with these tools you will also need :-
Step by Step Guide
By using the water that has been collected in the butt and watering your garden only when it needs it (early in the morning or late in the evening during dry periods) you can save a lot of water and money on your water bill. It is important to note that this water should only be used for watering plants and not for filling paddling pools or water toys, these need a clean supply of treated water as there is a danger of untreated water being swallowed with the health risks that this implies.
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