Archive for the ‘Automatic Watering Systems’ Category
As we all know we are experiencing the driest weather the UK has faced for years, meaning water rationing for most regions and restrictions on garden watering. We have been left with only one option to continue watering our gardens legally, and that is automatic watering systems. An automatic watering system has been allowed under the hose pipe ban because of its efficient way of distributing water to garden plants. Below are a few links to information pages and product pages relating to automatic watering systems:
Guide to what an Automatic Watering System entails and what parts are required.
The low rainfall that we have seen over the last 6 months in the UK is already taking its toll on water supplies and the Environment Secretary has warned the South East region of England is at extreme risk of drought. 2011 was the 2nd warmest year on record and also the second driest year on record across parts of England. The outlook over the next few months is rain at times, but also dry spells. As we near the spring and summer, many worry that a hose pipe ban is likely to come in to effect throughout the UK to conserve water supplies.
So what does this mean?
The biggest impact of droughts in the UK is the drop in groundwater levels, meaning that the groundwater stores that we rely on to keep our rivers flowing are extremely low. The low levels of groundwater can also have a massive impact on the well being of trees, plants and lawn areas.
A drought summit has been held today (20/02/2012) with the Environment Secretary and the water companies where they declared that in some areas, some rivers and groundwater levels are lower than the drought of 1976. Without substantial rainfall in the coming weeks we could see a hose pipe come in to effect for the summer.The Environment Secretary has called on families to start conserving water. So how can we reduce the amount of water that we use without having a massive impact on our daily routine. Well one of the ways we can prevent the impact of a water shortages in the future is by using irrigation systems.
Irrigation systems are a great way to efficiently distribute water around the garden, with savings of up to 90% compared to the traditional method of using a hosepipe. Think to whenever you use your hosepipe: do you go to the first plant, turn the hose pipe on and release just the right amount of water, then turn the hose back off, move to the next plant, turn it back on and repeat the process? I thought not. Water is wasted by people turning the hose on from the tap and allowing it to flow until they have finished watering every plant.
The other problem with using the traditional method is people generally apply more water than is actually needed, not necessarily going to excess that can damage the plant, but just a bit over the top for there to be wasted water.
Irrigation systems deliver the water to only the plant, and because they can be turned on automatically, can distribute just the right amount needed, preventing wastage. If you would like any help on irrigation systems or any other tips on saving water, then check out these pages: Irrigation System Design
There are fears in the UK of a super drought for 2012 and for years to come. Water shortages can normally lead to one dreaded outcome: a hose pipe ban. How can we ensure that our gardens continue to get the water that they need without using the hose pipe? Below is a quick outline of what a hosepipe ban really means and the can and can’ts of water usage under a hose pipe ban based on current legislation.
There are still lots of permitted uses for hose pipes connected to your tap, but of course watering the garden is not one of those. The permitted uses are:
- Use of a hose or pressure washer to clean patios, boats, paths, garden furniture, barbecues windows, and a wide variety of other objects, but it excludes a car;
- To use a hose to fill up a swimming pool or paddling pool, ponds and other containers;
- Use a hose to mix cement or for any other DIY job;
- Use a hose to put out a fire;
- Use of a hose to to wash down pets, horses or for people to take outdoor showers with a spray head;
- Use a hose with a back flow prevention valve to fill livestock drinking troughs;
- Use a hose for children’s play.
You can water your garden from a water butt and pump. As a water butt is a container (you are allowed to fill up containers with a mains connected hose pipe), this is a cheeky way to try and get around the issue, but I wouldn’t rely on this as an argument because its not officially allowed. Obviously rain water collected in a water butt can be used to water your garden as it is your water that you have collected.
The above guidelines are from outdated legislation and recently (2010) new legislation was passed with a more common sense approach. Rather than having just two prohibition options, it has a list of different sensible restrictions that water companies can impose. Under this legislation, it also gives powers to grant exemptions from hosepipe bans, for example certain types of water-saving irrigation equipment such as:
- Drip Irrigation Systems
- Micro Sprays and Sprinklers
- Night Time watering
The new act includes this precise wording:
“A water undertaker need not ban a specified use of water entirely. It may limit the scope of a ban by, for example, excluding specified groups of customers and apparatus and restricting the use of water at specified times only.”
But don’t get too excited, this new legislation has not come in to effect yet and United Utilities are still having to use the old legislation. We can be sure though that in the future, we will see restrictions similar to those in the dry areas of the United States, which means that the future of garden watering will lie with automatic watering systems, as they offer the efficient method of watering gardens, saving users up to 90% off their water consumption compared to using a watering can (currently permitted), and as 80% of all water wasted in the garden comes from uncontrolled sprinklers and hose pipe use, we should see a rise in automatic watering systems in the years to come bringing us in line with the rest of the world.