Water Conservation Gardening - Display by Heather Balcomb and Linda De Luca
Water Conservation Gardening is the wise use and management of any water in the garden, particularly rain water. Ideally our gardens should not let a drop of water leave our property - be it a home or business park, or shopping area.
We hope this display gives you visual inspiration on how to implement some principals of water conservation design in the gardens.
We have focused on rain water in this display, but please note that many of the principals can also include the management of grey water in the garden.
The display includes:
There are a number of techniques that can be employed for managing rain water:
Creating a rain water garden
Should be on a gentle downward slope, AWAY from the house.
Plants to use
It makes sense to use locally available indigenous plants, as these will be most suited to the environmental conditions in your garden.
Ensuring that rain water is slowed down naturally before it rushes into our rivers has a number of advantages:
If enough people in a neighbourhood do it we could actually contribute towards recharging the groundwater and thus raising our water table.
Plants and soil etc. that slow the run-off down also serve to filter out some pollutants including chemicals and trace metals.
Plants’ roots in particular can sustain various microbes that assist in bio-filtration, resulting in cleaner water being released into the environment.
The more water that soaks into the ground, the less water will enter the drainage system at any one time. It will be released gradually. The positives to this are that nearby stream water quality can be improved.
River beds will not be scoured out as regularly, and aquatic biodiversity will be able to establish itself and thrive. The other advantage is that it prevents large scale erosion due to the force of water movement.
As water is a precious (and increasingly more expensive) resource we need to shift our gardening style to maximise the amount of water that is trapped on our properties with some relatively small changes.
By creating small berms, swales and dips one can slow water down sufficiently to ensure that most of it will soak into the ground, depending on the soil type. Some soil conditioning can greatly enhance the soil’s capacity to absorb the water.
On a larger property or in a business park, Rain water depressions (rain gardens) could be created in a series down the slope, and be connected by swales or French drains so catch any overflow from one to the next..
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