Tuesday 07 December 2021

Water conservation in your garden

Water is a limited commodity, which, if not managed properly, will result in scarcities in the near future. Water conservation can go a long way to decrease the possibility of such shortages. 

Wasting water is not only a burden on our water supplies, but can also be expensive. If you have noticed a large increase in your water bill lately, it might be the case, for example, that your irrigation system in your garden or field could be at fault. No doubt, a smart irrigation system, be it within a garden or in an agricultural field can help you conserve water and maximize the efficiency of every drop. 

Water conservation is getting smart!

The traditional irrigation systems are the mainstays of agricultural practices and have long been in existence. However, these old systems waste a lot of water. A large percentage of water used in traditional irrigation systems goes to waste. Smart irrigation systems are enhancements and updates on the traditional means. They come with features that use weather and sensors to limit water wastage to only a bare minimum, if at all. The installation of a smart irrigation system isn’t just an investment for your home or the agricultural holding, but they are considered to be sustainable investments that are cost-effective and time-efficient.

Conserving water in your home garden

Let us now look at how we can conserve water in our gardens at home, whatever the sizes of such gardens. In our garden space, its essential to consider three main principles. First, give plants only the water they need to survive until the autumn rainy season returns, where rainfall can help with the watering of your plants. Second, as much as possible, water each plant’s roots directly instead of wasting water on large sections of ground. And third, collect and use household water-to-water plants in pots that ordinarily would go down the drain.

Simple changes can lessen water use so none of this precious resource is wasted. Whatever the weather, it’s a good idea to get into the habit of conserving water in your garden. You’ll be able to keep your plants alive in times of drought and it will save you money, too.

There are simple ways to cut down on water usage in the garden by following some basic steps, hence applying water-wise gardening skills. Here are some ways to minimise your use of water in the garden:

Add more organic matter to the soil | Adding compost to the soil will help reduce the amount of water required. Studies have found that increasing the amount of organic matter will increase the water holding capacity of the soil.

Where possible, use Drip Irrigation | Drip irrigation focuses water irrigation to specific points in your garden. Less water is wasted as water is applied closer to the root area. Placing the drip irrigation under the mulch, to cut down on evaporation, can do this.

Adjust watering to meet the needs of your plants | Different types of plants will require different amounts of water. When gardening, it is important to comprehend that water needs vary depending on the stage of development of your plants.

Use mulches to reduce evaporation | Mulch is a layer of material applied to the top layer of the soil to reduce evaporation, such as leaves, wood pieces etc. Mulching can reduce the plants’ water needs by as much as 50%. The use of mulch in a garden space, landscaping and agriculture improves the efficiency of water use by reducing evaporation, improving water infiltration and storage, and reducing deep drainage.  

Change the style of planting | Since many plants require different amounts of water to thrive, it’s important to identify and get to know the features of the area where you are planting i.e. the amount of sun and shade it receives, soil type and wind conditions. This will help you to plan to group plants with similar watering requirements together.  

Water during cooler times of the day | Use timers on your irrigation system to water between 9 pm and 6am, since during this specific time, more water will soak in rather than evaporate.

Rainwater for plants

Harvesting and storing rainwater is another great way to conserve water in your garden and prevent it from being lost. Rainwater that you collect can be used to water your garden, wash your car, flushing or washing the floors. Natural rainwater is always the best source of water for plants. . 

With just a few small changes here and there, you could be saving litres of water, which is not only essential for our ecosystem and environment, but it will also reduce your water bill! 

For more water conservation tips please visit water.org.mt. 

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