Less than six percent of water consumption is used for garden irrigation. Efficient drip irrigation supplies the plants in an economical way and thus contributes to the preservation of green habitats. Biodiversity and the local climate are strengthened. That is why watering is extremely important, especially during dry periods - but in a clever and resource-saving way.
"Good news first... The amount of water used in households has dropped significantly over the past 30 years. While per capita consumption in Germany was 144 litres a day back in 1991, this figure had dropped to 123 litres by 2016. But the amount of water used has started to creep back up since then. The average per capita consumption in 2021 was 127 litres a day. So where is most water used and where is it saved?1
Showers, washing and plants
A lot of water is used for personal hygiene and chores around the house. By comparison, very little water is used to water plants. And yet there is still significant scope for keen gardeners to cut back without having to wave goodbye to the idea of a beautifully blooming balcony or gorgeously green garden. It is important to remember that these spaces have countless benefits beyond providing gardeners with a place to relax. Gardens provide fresh air to their surroundings and filter out pollution and particulates. Trees, shrubs and green areas also regulate and improve the local climate. Last but not least, spaces filled with lots of different plants support biodiversity and the conservation of birds, mammals and insects.
Collect rainwater, save tap water
Sourcing drinking water straight from the tap may be the most convenient way for gardeners to water their garden but it is also the most expensive. When plants and soil are strained by the dry weather and scarce water during the summer months, it is time to turn to alternative watering solutions.
Collecting rainwater has proven to be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly option for small gardens in particular. Rainwater is a free resource that is also ideal for the job at hand since it will not be too cold or contain too much limestone formore sensitive plants. In a small garden space, rainwater can easily be collected in a water butt or old wine barrel placed under a downpipe. A lid will protect the water against contamination and stop mosquitoes from laying their eggs in there. The water should be used relatively quickly, as bacteria will grow if it is left stagnant for too long. A filter system is recommended to keep the water clean and free from leaves and anything else. It is also a sensible idea to install an overflow mechanism to divert water to the downpipe if the container becomes too full.
An underground rain tank can be a good alternative to a water butt in a bigger garden. For every 100 square metres of garden space, they need to be able to hold at least 5,000 to 6,000 litres of water. That is enough to water a garden five or six times on average. If the tank ends up standing empty during a longer dry spell, it can be filled with tap water to maintain the supply. Modern garden pumps can be relied upon to move precious water from a water butt or tank nice and quietly.
Just the right amount
Plants absorb water through their roots, so it makes sense to water them right there. Drip irrigation provides plants with exactly the amount of water they need, while minimising evaporation and preventing overwatering and waterlogging. And because fungi are no longer able to settle on wet leaves, the plants are healthier too. Nutrients also remain in the soil close to the plants’ roots, rather than being washed away into deeper soil layers or even into the groundwater. Another benefit is that the system deters weeds, as the available water is largely absorbed by the cultivated plants and flowers.
Smart irrigation solutions are even more efficient since they provide every type of plant with the right amount of water at the right time – in every kind of soil. The system adapts to weather conditions – even when there is no one home. This is made possible by sensors that measure the moisture content of the soil, ensuring that the plants are only watered when they need to be. If the soil already contains enough moisture, the next scheduled irrigation is suspended in order to save water.
Every drop counts
Gardeners looking to keep a closer eye on their water consumption can attach the AquaCount Water Meter directly to a tap, sprinkler, garden hose or pump. At the touch of a button, the display can indicate water use by day, season or watering session, as well as the current flow rate. This makes it easier for gardeners to keep track and be more mindful of how much water they are using and where they are using it.
More information on efficient water use can be found in the Gardena e-book Clever watering, at www.gardena.com/cleverwatering as well as on the infosheets attached and the press release "Gardens thriving or barely surviving". Find more ideas for natural gardening in the Gardena e-book Sustainable gardening: tips and inspirations for a colourful garden ecosystem
1 Water usage in private households | German Environment Agency
For over 50 years Gardena has provided everything passionate gardeners need. The broad assortment of products offers innovative solutions and systems for watering, lawn care, tree and shrub care and soil cultivation. Today, Gardena is a leading European supplier of high-quality gardening tools and distributed in more than 100 countries worldwide. Gardena is a brand of Husqvarna Group. Gardena Division has 3,450 employees worldwide. Further information on gardena.com.