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Water with care this summer

Water with care this summer

Greater Wellington is reminding people to water gardens with care, whether or not the rest of this summer turns out to be a scorcher, in a campaign starting tomorrow.

David Benham, Greater Wellington’s Utility Services manager, said careful garden watering was the key to easing the demand on the region’s rivers and water supply.

“It only takes a week or so of fine weather for watering to really take off. An hour of sprinkling can use as much water as a family of four on a winter’s day, so it’s worthwhile making every drop count.”

Much of the water supply for the region’s cities comes from rivers, which rely on rainfall. As summer heats up, the combination of long hot days and little rain can cause water use to increase by 50 percent or more. This can put a heavy burden on the rivers and lead to supply problems.

Mr Benham stressed that gardeners weren’t being asked to go without.

“We don’t expect people to stop watering, just to do their best to avoid wasting it, by checking first to see if the garden needs water and if it does, by controlling the flow.

“If more gardeners adopt good watering habits it’ll help to minimise the resources needed to supply water every summer and leave the region better placed to cope during a drought in future.”

Greater Wellington’s water conservation advertising is part of its Be the Difference programme, promoting small changes that households can make to help improve the region’s environment. Watch out for advertising in community newspapers and on radio from 22 January. It is supported by Hutt, Porirua, Upper Hutt, and Wellington city councils.

Local bylaws governing the use of water for gardening apply across the region. Bylaw conditions vary by area so residents should contact their local council for details. To find out more about water-wise gardening and watering restrictions go to www.bethedifference.gw.govt.nz

The advertising campaign calls for gardeners to take a few easy steps to avoid wasteful watering:

Check soil moisture before watering. If soil is moist at a depth of 10 centimetres you don’t need to water. Check once or twice a week with a trowel in dry weather.

Aim to water only around the roots of ornamental plants, at a rate the soil can absorb. If watering runs straight off the soil surface or sprays fences, driveways and footpaths, it’s wasted.

Spread mulch – such as bark or compost - on garden beds. This helps protect soil from baking hard and slows moisture loss by evaporation. Mulch should only be spread on well watered soil.

If using a portable sprinkler, 30-minute watering sessions are enough for established plants, as long as the water can soak into the ground.

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