Be water wise
On average we use 335 litres per person per day in the New Plymouth area. With much of this water use happening in gardens there are a wealth of things we could be doing to help use water more consciously.
Water wise gardening
Summer gardens can drink 1,000 litres of water per hour for irrigation. To be water smart in your garden:
Water when needed. Dig about 10 cm into the soil and if it’s moist at this deeper layer of soil you shouldn’t need to water.
Add compost to retain soil moisture, as well as feeding your plants.
Mulch well in Summer months to reduce evaporation. A good mulch stops about 70% of your water evaporating away.
Choose plants suitable for our climate. Using native plants is an easy way to reduce watering and maintenance, as well as attracting native birds.
Group plants with similar water needs together so you can limit the areas that you need to water, and use less water on plants that don’t need watering.
Irrigate within water restrictions. Water restrictions are usually in place in the New Plymouth District in the Summer months, allowing only for watering using hand held hoses on the odds and evens system. So if you live at an even numbered house you can use your hand held-hose on even days, and odd numbered houses on odd days. Use of sprinklers, irrigation systems and unattended hoses is banned. When water restrictions aren't in place, you can use a sprinkler, but it’s ideal to put it on a timer set to 30 minutes or less. A forgotten sprinkler with no timer can waste more than 1,000L of water an hour.
Water at the right time. The best times for watering are early morning or the evening.
Water roots (not the leaves) and water at a rate the water can be absorbed.
Soak occasionally, don’t spray. A good soaking twice a week, for no longer than 30 minutes each time encourages the roots to go deeper into the soil, making the plant more able to survive dry spells.
Avoid cleaning paths or your driveway or deck with a hose - use a broom instead.
Wash your car with a bucket and sponge – a lot less water will be wasted. Also use non-toxic cleaners, and park your car on a lawn if possible when you’re cleaning it so that suds will collect into the grass rather than our drains and waterways.
Clean by hand, not by hose
Setting up a rainwater tank for your garden gives you an unrestricted supply of water to use at any point. It can also be used for washing your clothes, flushing the toilet, and – if it's properly treated – for drinking and other household uses. Depending on need, you can set up a 44-gallon drum or a 200-litre rain barrel with a tap or connection to a soak hose.
For information on larger tanks, tank types, the likely size you’ll need, Council and building consent requirements, safety and maintenance, refer to the Smart Guide on Collecting and Using Rainwater.
If you are building a new home or setting up a property, designing for water capture and/or making use of gray water is a great option. Local consultancy Greenbridge are experts in designing for water use on properties.
Collect what you can
If you know of other stockists/retailers/suppliers/services or all round fantastic sustainable sources please let us know so that we can include them.