A Precious Resource
Capturing excess water that falls as rain in a rain barrel or other
system is only the beginning of water conservation. Now what do you do with the rainwater salvage?
In the garden, wise water use goes much further than simply planting
xeric plants that require little additional water; it includes the
techniques of soil conservation by building up the organic matter, and mulching, as well as learning some techniques and simple alteration in our attitude to conserve the dwindling supply of water.
Water conservation requires a change in thinking, and applying techniques that use water wisely.
you have your water supplied by a municipality which has watering
restrictions in place, or if you use a well, cistern, lake or river
water, these strategies will help you to conserve water:
Conserving water helps our environment, especially sensitive rivers
- Use irrigation tools such as drip irrigation systems
or soaker hoses instead of overhead sprinklers, which apply the water
right to the root zone of the plants instead of wasting it on sidewalks
and pathways. An added benefit of watering only those plants
that you are growing for beauty or food is that the weeds in the paths
won’t be able to grow.
- Irrigate with a timer so the
water comes on at night when there is less evaporation and don’t
overwater. Turn the water off manually if there is a spell of cooler
weather with some rainfall.
- Harvest your water and direct it into a rainwater tank. There are many different styles and types available - for potable water, make sure they're made from a type of material that is safe to use for this.
- Use either an organic mulch which will break down and supply your soil with more organic matter, or a permanent pebble or lava rock mulch which keeps the soil cool and traps some moisture under it.
deeply and thoroughly; then allow to the surface to dry between
waterings. This encourages the roots to go deep into the subsoil and
helps them withstand drought.
conservation will soon be, if it isn’t already, a way of life. Wise
use of diminishing supplies of this precious resource in a perpetually
changing climate is a habit we have to learn now.
Drought smart strategies as well as xeriscaping will help conserve water in the garden, leaving more available for other uses, such as for drinking and household use.
What we don't want to see:
The Kettle River, Grand Forks, B.C. in full spate in early May
One of the side effects of climate change is out of whack weather.
A heat wave in early May, about a month earlier than the more common flood time of late May to mid June, melts the snow pack at higher elevations.
The result? Flooding, and in time, drought as the valley dries out much earlier than usual.