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Garden suffering under water restrictions? Grey Water Solutions

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Garden suffering under water restrictions? Grey Water Solutions

by Megan Macpherson

Water conservation is important in Australia, and wherever you live, you will be subject to water restrictions in your home and garden. Restrictions apply for watering gardens, which can be an issue for the home improvement enthusiast seeking to create a lush garden. It is important to be aware of water restrictions in place in your state, as heavy penalties apply. Sydney Water has imposed level three restrictions for Sydney, Illawarra and the Blue Mountains. For gardens, this means hand hosing and drip irrigation is permitted only before 10am and after 4pm on Wednesday and Sunday only. No sprinklers are to be used at any time, and no hoses or taps are to be left running.

Brisbane City Council have set level two water restrictions, which means residents can water their gardens on alternate days depending on their house number. No sprinklers are allowed, but watering from buckets is allowed anytime. New gardens or landscaping are permitted one hour of watering per night for two weeks after establishment. 

Other states have similar restrictions, so check with your state to see which restrictions apply to you. Water conservation is a national issue, so it is everyones responsibility to make their homes more water efficient. Here are some ideas for how you can save water, and have your garden growing in the midst of a drought.

Sydney water estimates the average household uses approximately 400 litres of grey water each day, which can be diverted for other uses. Grey water is waste water from your kitchen, laundry and bathroom, with the exception of toilets. Grey water can be diverted to your garden by direct diversion or a domestic grey water treatment system. The treatment of water removes solids and pollutants from the water, where as direct diversion delivers water via gravity or pump without treatment. Treating the water is the best idea to ensure that pollutants are not transferred to the garden.

There are several health and environmental factors to consider when using grey water. Grey water can carry disease, therefore minimise contact between water and humans, pets and the veggie patch. Grey water can also alter the pH and nutrient level in soil, as well as possibly run off into stormwater or streams in bad weather.

Check local council regulations before installing a grey water diversion system, and using grey water. It may be tricky to install yourself, so you might need the help of a professional. Plumbing in Australian households must comply with Australian Standards AS 3500 and AS 1345.

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