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UK gardeners urged to make the switch from ‘mains to rains’ to save water

Gardeners urged to make the switch from ‘mains to rains’ to save water – as experts reveal as much as 205BILLION gallons are used by UK homeowners every year

  • Royal Horticultural Society urging gardeners to swap mains water for rainwater
  • UK homeowners use as much as 205 billion gallons every year, experts estimate
  • Online tool launched to calculate potential saving from water efficient practices
  • Greatest saving is thought to come from not watering lawns during dry spells

Gardeners have been urged to swap mains water for rainwater this summer in an attempt to save billions of gallons of water.

UK homeowners use as much as 205 billion gallons every year, experts estimate, with the vast majority going towards their gardens. 

A new online tool has been launched by the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) and Cranfield University to calculate the potential saving from adopting different water efficient practices.

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Plea: Gardeners have been urged to swap mains water for rainwater this summer in an attempt to save billions of gallons of water (stock)

HOW CAN YOU SAVE WATER?

  • Do not use a hosepipe or sprinkler system to water your lawn
  • Use drip trays to catch drainage water from pots and tubs
  • Install water butts
  • Swap hard landscaping for permeable paving to reduce run-off. Soil can then better absorb and store water
  • Mulch new plants to limit evaporation so they need to be watered less often 

 Source: Royal Horticultural Society

The greatest saving is thought to come from not irrigating lawns during dry spells. 

The RHS says if one in ten households with average-sized gardens pledged not to use a hosepipe or sprinkler system on their lawns, the amount of water saved would fill as many as 383 million baths. 

Using drip trays to catch drainage water from pots and tubs can also save more than 3.3 million baths of water each year, experts claim, while installing water butts saves on mains water.

Other tips include swapping hard landscaping for permeable paving to help reduce run-off, meaning that the soil is better able to absorb and store water, and mulching new plants to limit evaporation. This means they need to be watered less often. 

Despite the UK experiencing a wet May, the Environment Agency has warned that if the country does nothing to reduce its demand on mains water there will not be enough to meet demand by 2050. 

Janet Manning, RHS water scientist, said: ‘Water is not often talked about as part of the climate and biodiversity crisis, but it’s where we will begin to feel the effects first and where we as gardeners can make a difference. 

‘We know that plants need water to survive but it’s often not as much as thought, as wasted water often disappears underground. 

‘By helping your soil to better capture and retain rainfall for your plants to use during dry periods you can reduce your overall use and benefit from a garden that will better withstand more frequent dry spells.’ 

Professor Ian Holman, from Cranfield University, said: ‘The online mains to rains pledge system aims to help our nation of gardeners identify small changes in how they water their garden or allotment that reduce mains water use.  

‘These choices will not only save time and money but benefit your garden plants and the wider environment.’

Gardeners can learn more about how to reduce water use at www.mains2rains.uk.

The RHS says if one in ten households with average-sized gardens did not to use a hosepipe or sprinkler system on their lawns the amount of water saved would fill 383 million baths (stock)

The RHS says if one in ten households with average-sized gardens did not to use a hosepipe or sprinkler system on their lawns the amount of water saved would fill 383 million baths (stock)

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