Watering wisely during times of drought and water restrictions

Parts of our beautiful country are in the grips of drought, and watering wisely during these dry times will help us do our bit to conserve water. While there has been some rain, we are by no means out of the woods yet, and water restrictions still apply. But all is not lost, the key is knowing when, how and how much to water. We have put together some easy to follow tips on how to water your plants in the most effective way possible.

Watering the roots

Deep soakings encourage roots to utilize moisture deep in the ground. To ensure the water gets to the roots of plants, divide your total watering time into 2 to 3 cycles. For instance, instead of watering for 15 minutes, water three times for five minutes each. Give time for the water to sink to the roots between these watering cycles. By doing a deep watering you can cut down on the number of times that you water during a week.

Get your timing right

• Don’t water on windy days. Evaporation rates are high and a lot of the water will just get blown away.

• Water during the evening or early morning, when it is coolest. Automatic systems can be set to water before dawn, when evaporation is at its lowest.

• Be flexible. Water less often in cool weather and more frequently in hot weather. When there is good rainfall, stop watering for a few days.

• Adjust your irrigation systems’ schedule to accommodate the changes in each season. Also check your irrigation system regularly, as clogged, leaking or misdirected sprinkler heads waste a lot of water and money.

A slippery slope

Water catchment is key when you are facing a sloped area. It is much more effective to terrace the slope to maximise water holding and reduce runoff. But if it is not possible, there are some ways to help with watering a sloping area.

• Use shorter watering times to avoid runoff.

• Consider planting a water-wise groundcover on sloping areas.

• Use drip irrigation on slopes. This is the most effective system for ensuring that no water is wasted, and every drop is used effectively.

You can save water and money by simply making a few small changes. A flexible, effective watering schedule can help prevent runoff and encourage deep root growth. Water is a precious resource and we can all do our bit to use it effectively and wisely.