Maintaining gardens and grounds typically uses high quantities of water. If your business has a garden or any areas of grounds to manage, there are practical steps you can take to minimise your water use.
Your business can significantly cut its water use by following some simple steps:
- Systems such as spray irrigation cause high levels of evaporation. Set your irrigation system to operate first thing in the morning before the air temperature has risen.
- Choose sprinkler systems that operate low to the ground and replace any that shoot their water into the air. This reduces losses from evaporation and wind drift.
- Check the weather forecast. If it is likely to rain the next day, switch off any automatic sprinkler or irrigation systems. If the rain fails to arrive you can simply switch your systems back on.
- When watering has to take place, always use a hose that has an automatic shut-off valve. Trigger-operated hosepipes are ideal as they are cheap to buy and have a very short payback period of about two days.
- Always check that the soil you are about to water actually requires it. Consider installing a soil moisture sensor.
- When you are replacing plants and flowers, look for varieties that are hardy and require less watering. Planting more native shrubs and covering exposed soil with mulch (in late winter) will retain moisture and could reduce watering by up to 70 per cent.
- Ensure the soil is properly cultivated to improve the structure and water-retaining properties of the soil
- Keep lawns longer in dryer months. Constant cutting increases the lawn's demands for water.
Alternative water sources
Collecting rainwater is one of the most cost-effective ways of saving water. Installing a water butt or tank that collects rainwater from the roof or drainpipes is a fast and cheap way of reducing your business' overall water bill.
If the rainwater you have collected is not sufficient for your needs consider using grey water, eg from washing machines, before turning to fresh water from the mains supply - see water reviews, policies and action plans.
Tax breaks for water efficient equipment
Some of the technologies your business could employ to reduce the amount of water it uses to maintain gardens or grounds may be eligible for tax allowances under the Enhanced Capital Allowance (ECA) scheme - see first-year allowances for water efficient technologies.