At Happy Earth making every drop count is all about keeping every drop of water that lands on our site here for as long as possible, and reducing our reliance on mains water to a minimum. Some of the ways we’re managing our water consumption include:
- Looking after the biggest water tank we have - that’s the soil! Well structured soils full of life retain water incredibly well. See soil improvement techniques for more info. Growing food in our backyard is one of the most crucial ways to reduce our overall water consumption, as so much water goes into producing and distributing conventionally grown food
- Maximising soil surfaces and minimising hard surfaces like areas of concrete to allow water to be absorbed. We had a massive concrete driveway that water streamed off, so we broke most of the driveway up into pieces, and have created gorgeous mosaic paths with the small concrete pieces. The paths meander through the food forest, and are broken up by soil and herbs, to allow maximum water absorption.
- We used to catch water in buckets, and our buckets have now grown into two 9,000 litre water tanks. They supply the garden and washing machine. We’ve positioned the tanks to allow most of the garden to be gravity fed, which minimises use of the pump. If you can get a hold of any old big olive barrels, they make fantastic and cheap water storage tanks too.
- Reusing greywater from the washing machine and shower to water moisture loving plants like bananas and pawpaws – click here for Greywater reuse guidelines
- Creating swales, which are small trenches that collect and store water run-off right where it’s needed for our water loving fruit trees
- Using a water efficient washing machine, and only doing a load when we really need to. If there's only a few things, we just wash them by hand
- Realising that water pollution starts at home and switching to green cleaning
- Planting in the garden when there is rain forecast - or planting in the rain!
- Grouping water loving food plants together, and planting them in 'wet areas' such as under taps, where our greywater goes, or in swales.
- Irrigating the veggie beds with soaker hoses, which are buried under the soil to provide water directly to the plants roots
- Watering the food forest in the late afternoon
- Ensuring every patch of soil is mulched, or has ground cover plants to reduce evaporation
- Installing a water efficient shower head
- Fixing dripping taps and the leaky toilet
- Embracing the toilet etiquette of “if it’s yellow let it mellow, if it’s brown flush it down.”