Water Wise Action in Central Australia - Powerwater


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Water Wise Action in Central Australia - Powerwater

  1. 1. FREE! Please take onewaterwiseACTION IN CENTRAL AUSTRALIA
  2. 2. quick guide to water savings * Hardware Showerhead Action Replace old showerhead with water Cost (without rebates) $18 to Savings litres (L) per year 60,000L Savings ($/year) $65 efficient model1 $100+ Reused 2L Fill and put in toilet cistern Free 4,400L $5 water bottle Four minute Reduce shower time from $5 30,000L $32 shower timer seven minutes to four minutes2 Shower level Install instant on/off flick lever $55 9,800L $11 to turn off water during shower3 Hot water Install a device that recirculates hot $500 to 11,000L $12 recirculation water so hot water is instantly available4 $900 Bucket Use a bucket to catch cold $5 11,000L $12 shower water and put on plants Flow restrictors Fit flow restrictor to taps5 $2 10,000L $11 Tap aerators Fit tap aerators6 $8 10,000L $11 Dual flush Replace single flush toilet $150+ 38,000L $41 toilet with dual flush toilet7 Tap timer Install tap timer on irrigation system8 $20 to 10,000L $11 $100+ Trigger nozzle Fit a trigger nozzle to hose for $20 to $50 4,000L $4 garden watering/car washing Washing Replace top loader with $500+ 18,000L $19 machine water efficient front loader9 Dishwasher Replace old model with $800 4,000L $4 water efficient model10 Pool cover Cover pool when not in use11 $450 44,500L $48 Rainwater tank Connect a 9kL tank and plumb $1,700 40,000L $43 into a toilet or hot water system12 NT approved Divert greywater from laundry $3,000+ 62,000L $67 greywater and shower to garden13 system Hose Temporary greywater diversion $50 13,500L $15 from washing machine Lawn irrigation Reduce irrigation to match lawn needs14 Free 80,000L $86 Synthetic grass Replace lawn with synthetic grass (savings $70/m2 2,000L/ m2 $2/m2 exclusive of reduced fertilizer and mowing) Irrigation Remember to reduce in cool months15 Free 75,000L $81 * Based on a three person household. Hardware installation costs not included. Costing quoted in September 2009 from Alice Springs retailers. Price of water is costed at $1.079/kL (per 1,000L) as at 1 July 2010. Not all items listed are appropriate for all households. An average household uses 1,458L/day. Gardens use 950L (65 per cent of total daily household use). 1 Based on five minute showers 5 Indoor tap use is 73L/day 9 Old top loaders use around 13 Daily five minute showers with and replacing 20L/minute (5 per cent of total daily use). 150L/wash. Water efficient a 9L/min shower rose and four shower rose with 9L/minute Flow restrictor reduces tap front loaders use around 65L loads of washing per week. water efficient shower rose. use by 40 per cent. 65L/wash. 14 Lawn is 7m x 7m. Good existing 2 Using a 9L/min shower rose. 6 Indoor tap use is 73L/day (5 per 10 Dishes washed every day and sprinkler layout. Reduce 3 One minute/ day less water. cent of total daily use). Aerator 10L/wash 20L/wash saved with from 3,650mm/year/m2 reduces tap use by 40 per cent. new machine. to 2,000L/m2. 4 30L/day is wasted waiting for water to heat up. 7 Single flush toilets use 11 7m x 4m pool, covered 50 15 Five cool months/year. 12L/flush. Dual flush per cent of the year. Annual 500L per day reduction. toilets use 4.5L/3L. evaporation 3175mm. 8 Saves 10 minutes of irrigation 12 Roof area 200m2. per week at 20L/ minute.
  3. 3. contents Introduction 2 Around the house 8 Taps 10 Is it right for my house? 10 In the bathroom 11 In the kitchen 14 In the laundry 15 Greywater 16 Pools and evaporative air conditioning 18 In the garden 20 Planning 21 Protect and build the soil 21 Salt in Centralian soils 23 Watering 24 Watering schedule 26 Drip irrigation 28 Plants 30 Native gardens 31 Waterwise fruit and veggies 33 Lawn 35 Pot plants 38 Water harvesting 40 Landscaping 40 Rainwater tanks 41 Get in the know 42 Local organisations 42 Further information 43
  4. 4. introduction This booklet has been put together to show you some simple and effective ways to lower your water use, including ideas that have worked for members of desertSMART COOLmob. Reducing your water use is not only good for the environment; it’s good for your wallet.act now! where ourdesertSMART COOLmobsurveys show that time is the water comes fromgreatest barrier to creating Alice Springs’ water supply comes from the Roe Creek Borefield,a more water-efficient 14 to 18km south of town. Eighty per cent of that water comeshome. But as they say, if you from the Mereenie Sandstone, the rest from the Pacoota andwant something done, ask a Shannon formations. These all lie within an enormous aquiferbusy person! – the Amadeus Basin. Water saving ideas are Since pumping at Roe Creek began in 1964, the aquifer has indicated by this icon. dropped from 90m to 150m below ground level – about one We have estimated metre per year. If water use continues at the current rate, how long each action Alice Springs will need a new borefield in 20 to 50 years. will take. Before 1964, drinking water came from the Town Basin aquifer, which is still used for irrigating parks and ovals unless the water level drops below 8m. In Tennant Creek, surface water is scarce so the town’s water supply is drawn from a borefield at Kelly Well 20km south. Water was first found there in the mid 1800s when a stock well was dug for the Overland Telegraph Line.2water wise
  5. 5. how much water andwater climate changeis left? You might be surprised by the amount of greenhouse gas emitted:The Roe Creek and Rocky Hill • pumping water from 150m below the groundaquifers have enough water • treating the waterto supply Alice Springs for200 to 400 years depending • pumping the water 15km from Roe Creek Borefield toon demand for water. However, your homeas the water levels drop it • pumping and treating the resulting sewage.becomes more expensive to In Alice Springs, this adds up to about 8,400 tonnes ofpump it to the surface. greenhouse gas per year. That’s 0.7 tonnes of greenhouse gas per house, equivalent to a 4,000km flight (close to a return trip from Alice Springs to Sydney). So, saving water also helps combat climate change. It delays the need to drill new bores and helps preserve a finite resource for future generations. 3 water wise
  6. 6. water costs incentral australiaWater is cheap in the Northern Territory (NT) – $1.079 per kilolitre (kL)compared to $1.87 per kilolitre in Sydney. Alice Springs Tennant Creek Broken Hill Adelaide (2008- 2009) (2008- 2009) (2008- 2009) (2008- 2009) Annual household 532kL 663kL 284kL 190kL water use Daily household 1,458L 1,815L 778L 520L water use Per person daily use 576L 457L* 391L 228L Yearly household 0.659 tonnes 0.681 tonnes^ 0.549 tonnes 0.432 tonnes CO2 emissions for water supply Yearly household 0.701 tonnes 0.693 tonnes^ 0.604 tonnes 0.601 tonnes CO2 emissions – water and sewerage total National Water Commission (2010). National Performance Report 2008–09: urban water utilities, Australian Government Canberra. Power and Water Corporation, pers comm., June 2010 * Australian Bureau of Statistics population census data. ^ (Approximate. Based on Northern Territory power generation average of 622 tonnes CO2 emitted per gigawatt hour of electricity). how much water does know your a waterwise house use? water use It depends! Consider these desertSMART COOLmob Water is charged by the homes… kilolitre (kL). Robbie’s house in Larapinta has two adults and one baby One kL = 1,000 litres (L) and (lots of nappy washing!) and a native garden. They use takes up one cubic metre. an average 480L per day. Julia’s house in Braitling has two adults and two kids. They have a small lawn, five fruit trees and a large native garden, they use an average 1,200L per day.4water wise
  7. 7. reading your water meter Water meters come in a few shapes and sizes and can usually be found in the front corner of your property on the boundary line. To read the meter: 1. Locate the water meter on your property. 2. Lift the protective flap. The engraved number on the metal casing of the meter is the meter serial number which identifies which property the meter belongs to. This number also appears on your water bill. 3. Read the meter dials from left to right. Generally, the kilolitre reading is shown in the first four numbers on the left and litres reading is the last four numbers on the right. Only kilolitres are used to read your bill. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 Mega 100s of 10s of KILO 100S of 10S of LITRES TENTHS Litres KILO KILO LITRES LITRES LITRES OF LITRES LITRES LITRES BILLABLE DIALS For example, the dials above show that this household has used 1,234 kilolitres of water since the meter was installed. NS MI Check your bills for the past year.15 How much water do you use per day? 100 to 200L per person per day – excellent! 200 to 600L – good but there is room for improvement. 600 to 1,000L – you can probably make significant savings. More than 1,000L…get set for huge water savings! Use the quick guide to water savings table in the inside front cover to set some waterwise goals. 5 water wise
  8. 8. buying water efficient products WELS stands for Water Efficiency Labelling Scheme. The WELS water rating label provides water efficiency information for water-using household products (i.e. taps, toilets). The label A joint government and industry program Licence No. nnnn carries two important pieces of information to help you compare Water Consumption products – stars and water consumption or water flow figures. litres per minute The more stars and the lower the number means the better the product. Compare products at www.waterrating.gov.au SAWM stands for Smart Approved WaterMark. It is a voluntary label used on outdoor products such as pool covers or trigger nozzle hoses. It indicates that the product is water saving but does not give it a rating. For more information visit www.smartwatermark.org WaterMark confirms that a product complies with the Plumbing Code of Australia. Products certified under the WaterMark scheme include innovative designs that are specifically aimed at reducing water usage.6 water wise
  9. 9. rebatesRebate schemes change frequently. At time of publication For up-to-date rebaterebates are available from the following organisations. information call desertSMART COOLmobThe Federal Government on (08) 8952 0299.National Rainwater and Greywater Initiative – providing rebatesof up to $500 for households to install rainwater tanks orgreywater systems – www.environment.gov.au/water/programsThe Northern Territory GovernmentNT Waterwise Central Australia Rebate Scheme (supportedby Power and Water) – waterwise products and plumbingrebates – www.nt.gov.au/waterwiseEligible items and services include:• rainwater tanks• greywater diversion and treatment systems• toilets• plumbing in new appliances and fixing leaks• shower roses• washing machines• pool covers and more.Rainwater Tank Rebate NT – rebates of up to $1,900 for thepurchase, installation and plumbing of a rainwater tank toresidences and other dwellings – www.greeningnt.nt.gov.auAlice Solar CitySolar hot water and other incentives– www.alicesolarcity.com.au 7 water wise
  10. 10. it’s simple Saving water doesn’t require fancy technology. Adopting water smart habits like taking four-minute showers, maintaining plumbing and irrigation systems make significant savings. around the house how much water does a leaking tap waste? It depends on the leak. One drip per second wastes 1,000L over a year. Leaks generally get worse with time so fix them quickly!8 water wise
  11. 11. maintenance Fix leaks early. As calcium builds and dries up it eats into metal, breaking down thread and ruining seals. It is better to replace washers and re-seat taps early than to use a lot of force to turn them off. finding leaks Use these tricks to find hidden leaks: • Listen to your toilet when the cistern is full (not straight after a flush). If it hisses, you have a leak. • Put a couple of drops of food colouring in the cistern. Don’t flush. Colour will appear in the bowl after a few minutes if you have a leak. • Be alert to any water hissing, dripping or running when all appliances are off. • Read your meter before you go to work. Make sure all water appliances are off. Check it again when you return. If the readings are different, you have a leak. • Look out for wet patches in your yard or unusually vigorous/green garden growth. If you see these, a main or irrigation pipe may have split or burst. NS MI10 Ring a plumber to fix those leaks. Alternatively, get a handy friend to teach you how to fix them (will take about one morning). 9 water wise
  12. 12. taps The amount of water from a tap depends on water pressure and tap type. An outdoor tap runs at about 20L/minute. An inefficient indoor tap can use almost as much. A 3-star indoor tap uses is it right for my house? 6L/minute. Calcium scale from hard water can quickly build up on flow Tap aerators screw onto the restrictors and block the tap. Before kitting out every fixture, see tap opening and restrict flow how much the tap is using – if your water pressure is low you without affecting pressure. may not need restrictors. If a restrictor is needed, try installing Check whether your tap needs just one and check for scale after a month. a male or female fitting before Some old hot water systems cannot handle low-flow devices you go shopping. and will cut out. Some garden irrigation control boxes won’t Flow restrictors are small work well if flow restrictors are in place. Speak to a plumber for plastic disks inserted inside further advice. a tap, valve or water meter fitting or added as an extra piece to pipework. They restrict flow by up to 50 per cent. You do not need to install both on the same tap, particularly in high calcium water. Neither is necessary on your bath. You will fill it to the same level, using the same amount of water, it will just take longer! NS MI Look at your taps 010-2 and shower roses. Are they low flow? If unsure, check with a 10L bucket. Less than a bucket per minute (around 9L/minute) is considered low flow. 10 water wise
  13. 13. in the Toilets Old-fashioned single flush toilets can use a whopping 12L perbathroom flush. In contrast, a 4-star dual flush toilet uses 4.5L for a full flush and 3L for a half flush.Simple actions add up. Thingsyou can do: Single flush toilets can be replaced, however modern dual-flushes have a different shaped pan and you may• Use a cup for rinsing when need a new cistern as well. Check at the plumbing shop. brushing teeth instead of letting water run. Other things you can do:• Partly fill basin when • Put a brick or full 2L water bottle in the toilet cistern to reduce shaving, don’t run water. the flush size. • “If it’s yellow, let it mellow. If it’s brown, flush it down.” • Don’t flush rubbish (e.g. tissues) down the toilet. Composting toilets can be used on rural properties not connected to a sewer. Contact NT Environmental Health about approved models. what about water conditioners and calcium build up/scale? Water conditioners soften hard water. There are two main types: the first replaces calcium salts with sodium. This reduces calcium scale, but is a problem for people on low sodium diets. The second type uses magic, er, magnetism. You can find dozens of explanations of how they work. Scientific trials show mixed results. 11 water wise
  14. 14. Showers 3-star shower roses, which use less than 9L/minute come in lots of styles. If you would rather not buy a new shower rose you can install a flow restrictor in your old one, which might be using up to Things you can do: 20L/minute. • Challenge everyone in your household to shower in less than four minutes. • Catch water from showers in a bucket while waiting for it to warm up and use it on your garden. How to replace a shower rose 1. Turn off shower taps (you don’t need to turn off the mains water). 2. Remove existing showerhead (turn anti clockwise), using a spanner and cloth at the base next to the wall. Do not force it or use the shower arm for leverage. 3. Clean and dry the thread of supply outlet. 4. Wind several rotations of teflon tape around the supply outlet, keeping the outermost thread clear of tape. 5. Place a flange over the supply outlet. UR HO Go to your local 6. Screw a new showerhead arm onto the supply outlet (turn1 hardware shop, claim clockwise to tighten). the $50 NT waterwise shower rose rebate Visit the Savewater! Alliance website (www.savewater.com.au) and install as per the or search the internet to view a short film demonstrating instructions (right). the process. some keen people catch their shower water in one or more buckets and then pour the greywater into their toilet cistern. the cistern’s tap is turned off so no mains water ever gets into the cistern. - kay
  15. 15. BathsIf you feel like a really longwash, partially fill the bathinstead of having a longshower. A half-full bath usesabout 100L.Some like it hotReducing your hot wateruse is a great way to savepower used to heat the water.If you have a solar hot watersystem, you can still take action.• Insulate your pipes with lagging to help keep the water hot.• Install a hot water recirculator that keeps water in the hot tap hot, so you don’t waste cold water.• See desertSMART COOLmob’s Greenhouse Friendly Action book or Power and Water’s Green Guide publication for more ideas. my solar hot water system keeps dumping water. is it meant to do that? if you usually have Yes. Water is purged when older-style solar hot water a morning shower, systems overheat. However, excess purging is wasteful try having your and it can be dangerous to have all that hot water shower after coming off the roof. Try: breakfast. you’ll enter the shower • Having the valve checked/replaced at the next service. in a more alert state, • Cover half of the solar panel with shadecloth wash yourself more in summer. quickly, and be less • Replace your system with a newer one designed not likely to use the to purge (although even these release a little water if shower to wake up. they overheat). - sarah
  16. 16. go vegan! it’s easy, it’s ethical, and it’s healthy. quality plant protein uses a tiny fraction of the water needed for beef. - renata in the kitchen Do dishwashers really use Things you can do: less water than washing by • Only wash dishes when you have a full load/sink. hand? It depends how you • If handwashing, rinse dishes in a tub or in half a sink of hot wash and rinse. A sink holds water, or wipe them with a damp cloth instead of rinsing. 10 to 20L. Dishwashers use 10 to 20L per load - older • Use the dishwasher “eco” setting if it has one. models use more. If you • If buying a new dishwasher, look at the WELS star rating – only use one or two sinks for www.waterrating.gov.au a load, it’s a similar amount • Wash veggies over a bowl and use the leftover water on the garden. of water and less power. • Compost your food scraps to cut down on landfill and improve your soil productivity (see page 22 for more information). • Cut down your “water footprint” by eating less farmed meat and dairy. embodied In Australia in 2001, producing: The same goes for industrial appliances (clothing water • $1 of rice (in the husk) consumed 90L/$1). Embodied water used 7,459L of water In general, reducing, reusing is the amount of water • $1 of dairy products and recycling will used growing, processing used 680L of water minimise your water and and transporting • $1 of wine used 503L of water your ecological footprint. goods and services we • $1 of vegetables and fruit Source: Australian Bureau of Statistics use or consume. used 103L of water14 water wise
  17. 17. in thelaundryFront loaders use less water Other things you can do:than top loaders (typically • Wait until you have a full load before washing.100L compared to 160L). A • Use the “water saving” function if your machine has one.5-star front loader uses about60L/wash. When purchasing • Divert the greywater onto plants, but make sure you area new machine, check the using a “green” phosphate-free washing product. ProductsWELS rating. like fabric softeners, brighteners and bleach are not good for your garden. • Install a flow restrictor on your laundry tap if it is used for lots of hand washing and rinsing. use the ‘dry pail technique’ (also known as ‘dry soaking’) for babies’ nappies. we have discovered with our baby that you don’t need to soak clothnappies in water – just put them in an empty bucket with tight lid before washing. - jessica 15 water wise
  18. 18. Permanent greywater diversion devices Most commercially available greywater systems are greywater diversion devices (GDDs). They take the greywater from your house, store it in a surge tank and deliver it to the garden. This greywater is essentially untreated. Large things greywater like hair and lint are removed but bacteria, chemicals and nutrients are not. It is important to follow the Environmental The shower, bath and washing machine water Health guidelines. are good sources of greywater. Water from the kitchen sink is usually unsuitable as it Installation is easiest where contains a lot of fats and oils. greywater pipes are accessible (not under a concrete slab) and are separate from blackwater pipes. Do it yourself (DIY) Greywater treatment systems greywater diversion Untreated greywater is Ways of collecting greywater unsuitable for indoor use. If include: you want to use greywater to flush toilets or wash clothes, • Running a hose from your you could install a greywater washing machine to the treatment system. Treated garden. Move the hose greywater is better quality around; don’t always water and you can store it. However, the same patch. these systems cost more to • Bucketing greywater from set up and service. your bath/shower. • Siphoning water from a bath or laundry tub (don’t recycle bath water suck to create the siphon!). (with no greywater system in place) by • Pumping water out of bucketing water onto the bath with a small garden/pot plants. low-voltage pump. • Divert from exposed outlets - susie using a rubber funnel or diversion valve.16 water wise
  19. 19. greywaterregulationsRegulations are set byEnvironmental Health (NTGovernment Departmentof Health and Families).Permanent systems mustbe installed by a licensedplumber and the modelmust be NT approved.Check www.health.nt.gov.au/Environmental_Healthfor an up-to-date list. Ways to put it on the garden Some plants (indoor plants,Some important ferns and some natives) are Gravity feeding may berequirements include: too sensitive for greywater. possible if the greywater• Don’t let greywater source is high above the To care for the garden: puddle on the ground. garden. If not, you will need • Minimise use of products• Use greywater within a pump. Feed diverted like detergents, fabric 24 hours of collection so greywater into: softeners, brighteners bacteria doesn’t breed. • irrigation cones or crates and bleaches.• Bury dripline (or crates • gravel trenches • Look for biodegradable, low or slotted flexi pipe) phosphorus “greywater • slotted flexi pipe under at least 10cm of safe” detergent. Laundry soil or mulch. • sub-surface dripline liquids contain less salt• Don’t use it on root (use a filter!) than powders. vegetables or let it come • bucketing or hose diversion • Remember that greywater into contact with the (temporary systems only). tends to be alkaline. Don’t parts of the plant you eat. Never use greywater with put it on acid loving plants.• Use lilac-coloured sprinklers. Remember to • Use greywater on pipe to show where alternate greywater with tap well-draining soils. greywater is being used. water or rain water.• The irrigation set-back • Alternate the plants you is 1.5m from buildings Garden friendly greywater use it on. and 1m from the Greywater can contain salts, • Supplement with mains property boundary. chemicals and nutrients. or rainwater.• Divert greywater back This can cause soil problems • Don’t use greywater if you to sewer if it is too if the garden relies totally have put chemicals in it. dirty/contaminated, on greywater. don’t use on the garden. Older citrus and mulberriesFind out all regulations can often tolerate up to threebefore using greywater! washing machine water loadsContact the Alice Springs a week in the warmer months.Environmental Health 17office on (08) 8955 6122. water wise
  20. 20. pools and evaporative air conditioning pools Pools can account for nearly • Keep the pool clean and one fifth of a household’s empty the skimmer water use. Some evaporates, basket daily to reduce some leaks and some goes to filter back flushing. backwash. If you have a pool: • Try a cartridge filter. • Shade the pool to reduce • Experiment with how evaporation. little you can run the filter • Use a pool cover to reduce pump and still maintain a evaporation and keep the healthy pool. pool clean. • Consider turning the system off over winter and rebalancing for summer. How much water is lost i’ve redirected the evaporative cooler through backwashing? water that used to go down the drain, by Sand filters: 400 to 450L per backwash. integrating it into the Dichotomous earth: 100L. dripper system that is part of my garden. Cartridge filter: 0L. i can switch it over The cleaner the pool, the less backwashing needed! to the back or the front garden.18 - colin water wise
  21. 21. use a two litre juice or cordial bottle to catch the water from the hot tap when running it before it heats up. then use it to water pot plants. - rosalieevaporative air rentingconditioning Whether you are rentingAh! Cool air from the swampy! But did you know swampies or own your home, you cancan use 30L per hour (720L a day)? Refrigerative air conditioners always act waterwise!don’t use any water, but can dry the air and use a lot of power. Get permission to installTo increase the water efficiency of your swampy: these temporary items:• Have the pads cleaned regularly. • tap aerators• Adjust bleed to five to eight litres per hour (Alice Springs • a laundry greywater town water. Bleed needs to be higher if water is saltier). diversion hose• Use bleed on salt-tolerant plants or to top up the pool. • water efficient shower roses• Turn off bleed if rainwater is used. • a brick in the toilet cistern.• Close down the house at start of day (shut windows and pull down blinds etc) to keep cool and to minimise amount You might need to negotiate of time air conditioning needs to run. more permanent items like rainwater tanks. Emphasise• Get a home energy survey for more tips on keeping the the water bill savings and house cool. Contact Alice Solar City for more information. offer to contribute to the project. At least source quotes and research rebates. 19 water wise
  22. 22. in the garden U RS HO Draw up a map of your More than two thirds of water in Alice Springs2 existing garden. With households goes on our gardens - nearly 1,000L your family, figure out where water savings per house per day compared to only 20 per cent could be made and plan in Melbourne. Most (estimated 80 per cent) of the changes. You might Alice gardens are over-watered. Overwatering like to get a garden professional to help. adds salt to the soil, increases soil pH, can leach out valuable nutrients and is really a waste of precious water. Water-efficient gardens can be healthy and happy with the right combination of planning, soil building, mulching, irrigation and plants. 20 water wise
  23. 23. protect and build the soil Keeping your soil healthy is essential. Soils with a good level of organic content will hold moisture longer. Soil typesplanning The majority of soils in and around Alice Springs are very low inBefore heading to the garden nutrients, particularly nitrogen and phosphorous, essential forcentre or hardware shop to buy growing fruit and veggies. Many native Australian plants haveplants, have a clear idea about adapted to low nutrient soils.the sort of garden you want. Soil types in Alice Springs range from river sand to clay. SandyWhat have you got to soil might need organic matter added to improve waterwork with? retention, poorly draining clay soil could need sand.• soil type and condition In Alice Springs, most soils are alkaline (pH between 7 and 10).• shade from nearby The pH of a soil determines its capacity to provide nutrients to structures/trees plants. Optimum soil pH is 6.5.• wind exposure Compost and organic matter can usually reduce the alkalinity.• sun exposure: west-south- Contact your garden centre for advice. west facing gardens UR HO should be native and/or Find out about your soil type. Take soil samples from a 1 incorporate shade trees. few places around the garden. Kits for testing pH can be Thirsty plants are better on bought from pool shops and garden centres. Most garden centres will provide pH soil testing as a complimentary the eastern side service for their customers.• competition for sunlight, nutrients and water from established plants.What do you want from yourgarden?• fresh produce• a children’s play area• an area that is attractive to wildlife• shading or screening for a house.use local materials inthe garden. i harvestbuffel grass to mulchmy veggie patch. thegrass seeds sprout butare easy to get rid of. 21 - chris water wise
  24. 24. Mulch Mulch is a protective layer that is added to the top of your soil. About 10cm of mulch is recommended. Don’t use plastic what are sheeting under mulch as it suffocates the soil. wetting Organic mulches include straw, hessian, hay and woodchips. agents? Inorganic mulches include riverstones, aggregates and sand. Wetting agents They protect the soil but don’t add nutrients. help water sink into hydrophobic (water Mulch can: repelling) soils instead • Reduce evaporation so you can reduce watering. of pooling on the • Stabilise soil temperature, keeping it cooler in summer and surface. Some people say warmer in winter. greywater or detergent • Improve soil structure and provide nutrients. Organic mulch can do the same job. adds nutrients and nitrogen for healthier plants. Mulch, ideally, should be composted or aged to reduce the risk of burning and depleting nutrients from the soil. • Reduce weed growth. • Look attractive and give character to the garden. Choosing and applying mulch: • Greenwaste mulch can have unwanted seeds and pests in it, make sure it has been well-composted. • If using inorganic mulch protect plants from reflected heat by using well-composted organic mulch directly under the plants. • Regularly check beneath mulch to make sure moisture is getting through. Thick, compacted mulch can stop gas exchange and water from getting to the soil. • Don’t put mulch right up to the plant stem to prevent collar rot, slater and larvae damage. Compost, manure and organic matter Adding organic matter, such as compost or manure, is one of the best things you can do for soil. Compost and manure add nutrients needed for plant growth and improve soil structure. Manures can be alkaline, which should be considered if you have acid-loving plants. Worm farms (vermicomposting) work but you need to protect the worms from summer heat and keep them moist. When composting in an arid environment, you might need to add moisture. Check out the compost factsheet from www.desertsmartcoolmob.org22 water wise
  25. 25. CompactionCompaction is bad forsoil health. Water doesn’tpenetrate compacted soiland can starve plant roots ofwater, air and nutrients.If soil is compacted:• Break it up with a salt in centralian soils garden fork. All soils contain salt but Central Australian soil has more than• After aeration apply a mix most. So does our tap water. That means the more water you add of coarse sand, organic to the garden, especially greywater, the more salt will be in the soil. fertiliser and gypsum. Signs of salt• Add mulch to keep • “Bull-dust” that puffs up if you step on it. moisture in and control temperature. • White crystalline crust around drippers or watering zone. • Reduced plant growth. Salt blocks plant nutrient up-take andFertiliser damages roots so leaves have burned edges or drop off.Poor plant growth can be due • Brittle ground surface with loose soil beneath and fewer or noto nutrient deficiencies, not new plants.lack of water. Healthy soil Dealing with saltwith lots of organic matteris good, but your plants may Reduce the amount of salt in your soil by:need fertiliser for specific • Using rainwater when possible.nutrients. Take a sample of • Applying gypsum. The calcium in gypsum binds to the soil,your plant to your garden freeing up salt so that it can be flushed out.centre and seek advice. • Digging in or adding organic mulch or compost. • Plant salt-tolerant species such as members of the Atriplex species (Old Man Saltbush), Eremophila maculata (Spotted where Fuchsia) and Melaleuca glomerata (Inland Teatree). does Deep watering to flush salts leached Give the garden a big drink in early December and February to salt go? flush down the salts. Leached salt has to go somewhere - the water table. When the water table rises after a big rain, it brings that salt back up into the root zone or soil surface. Minimise the amount of salt by not over-watering.
  26. 26. watering There are different sources of water that can be used to irrigate the garden: • rainwater • bore water • greywater • town water supply. Rainwater is healthy for gardens, but generally too irregular to sustain a garden. Bore water and greywater can be high in salts and should be supplemented with rainwater or town water. Most people will water with the town water supply, which can be slightly alkaline and contains lots of salts, including calcium (although less salt than greywater and most bore water contains). Good soaks less often Water at the right time Longer, less frequent watering Water your garden in the early morning (preferable) or late is better than short daily evening when it is cool. If you water during the day, too much watering in most cases. It water will evaporate. encourages hardy plants to Water growing plants only establish deep root systems and pushes any existing salt Don’t water parts of the garden that don’t grow. It is too past the root zone. common to see overspray and run-off onto concrete. Set up irrigation to deciduous trees and vines so it can be turned off or There are exceptions. Plants reduced when they are dormant. with shallow root systems, like seedlings and vegetables, Zoning need frequent light watering. Good zoning means placing plants with similar water needs See the suggested watering together, so that they are all on one irrigation line. You can then schedule on page 26. control the amount of water that goes to plants on different Very sandy soils will not lines. If zoning is poor, i.e. if citrus trees and natives are on the hold water and need same line, the citrus will be under-watered and the natives will frequent light waterings. be over-watered.24 water wise
  27. 27. Drip irrigation NS MI 5Drip is the most efficient Watering more in summer and less in winter makes sense.watering method. It is ideal But it’s easy to forget to adjust your irrigation controller.for catering to individual plant Write a reminder on your calendar to turn it down when the seasons change!needs. See section on page 28.SprinklersPop-up sprinklers are Hand wateringgenerally used for lawns. Hand watering is ideal for introducing new plants to anSingle movable sprinklers established garden or for gardens with just a couple of plants.can be used but are usually It is labour intensive and relies on you being home - no longinefficient. They need to be holidays. Use a trigger nozzle on the hose to save water.manually moved and areprone to overspray. Sprinklers Weaningare different to micro-sprays Most people overwater their plants! However, plants will notand misters - most water enjoy a sudden change to their watering. Reduce wateringfrom micro-sprays is lost slowly and watch your plants to ensure they are coping. Weanto evaporation. over the cooler months for best results and hand water the moreSub-surface dripline sensitive ones if needed.Sub-surface dripline can be If you are watering established natives every day:used for lawns and general • Reduce watering to every second day.landscaping. It is very water • After two months, water twice a week.efficient but should be • After another two months, water once a week.professionally designed. Someextras like air release valves • Consider adding more drippers to thirsty plants.are required. • If most other plants are thriving, accept the loss of a few non-hardy plants. A lawn watered for 10-15 minutes a day can be weaned (with correct management) to 25 minutes about once a week. It will take about a year. Check that plants with similar water needs are zoned together. If not, realign irrigation. 25
  28. 28. watering schedule Native garden and drought tolerant exotics 4L/hr drippers Summer Winter Spring/Autumn How How How How How How much? often? much? often? much? often? First 2 – 3 weeks 1 hour * Daily * 1.5 hour Every 1 hour Daily 2-3 days 3 weeks – 2 hours Every 2 hours Every 1.5 hours Every 3 months 3 days 4 days 3 days 3 months – 3 hours Every 4 hours Every 4 hours Every 4-5 12 months 4 days 6 days days Established 5 to 8 Weekly 5 to 8 Every 2 6 hours 7 - 10 days plants 1 to hours moving hours weeks 2 years old towards watering every 2 weeks Well established 8+ hours Monthly ** 8+ hours** Every 2 8+ hours Every 4 - 6 over 3 years*** ** months** weeks * It is better to plant in the cooler months. ** For a habitat style garden, natives over six years should be self sustaining with an occasional drink. They can be watered less during years three to five. *** Large deep-rooted trees such as Eucalypts can be disconnected from drippers after a couple of years.26 water wise
  29. 29. This table is a general guide and estimates arebased on a garden with loam soil. Sandy soilsrequire smaller amounts of water more often.Clay soils will require less water less frequently.Plant species, competition for water from otherplants, age of plants, drainage, shade and windwill all affect water need. Citrus trees and grapes Adjustable Summer Winter Spring/Autumn drippers* How How How How How How much? often? much? often? much? often? Established citrus 200L Every 250 – 300L Once a 200L per Every per tree 4 days week tree 5 - 6 days Established 40L Every 40L Once a 40L Spring Every grapes 3 - 4 days month 4 - 5 days 25L Autumn Every 5 - 6 days* Watering regime is based on using eight adjustable drippers per tree each producing 25 litres per hour. Watering time required equals one hour for 200 litres. Established lawn Sprinklers Summer Winter Spring/Autumn How How How How How How much? often? much? often? much? often? Pop-up sprinklers 20 – 25 Every 20 - 25 Every 20 - 25 Every minutes 3 -4 days minutes 5 - 7 days minutes 4 - 5 days 27 water wise
  30. 30. drip irrigation Drip irrigation wins the water efficiency game but only if it’s installed and used properly. Water is delivered to the root zone where it is needed, encouraging deep strong roots. Fewer weeds grow because water is applied very specifically and best of all drip is versatile; you can add or remove drippers as needed. Drippers and Other useful irrigation parts subsurface dripline Pressure regulators give you the right pressure, so you know the Drippers release water slowly dripper produces what it is set to. They also reduce the chance of so the soil can soak it up. pipes bursting. Choose flow rate depending Timers/automatic controllers ensure your garden is watered at on plant water needs. They can set times and frequencies such as early in the morning or when come in 2, 4 and 8 litres per you are away. hour. Adjustable drippers can water 20 to 120 litres per hour. There are a wide variety of timers/automatic controllers. Some can be confusing but learning how to use them is Subsurface dripline is polypipe well worth the water and time savings. with inline drippers at regular intervals. Subsurface dripline Inline valves allow you to switch between different is particularly good for veggie irrigation sections. gardens or watering lawns. Installing and cleaning a filter is essential to keep the system blockage free. In drip systems (not subsurface dripline), individual drippers are 3mm irrigation Inline filter installed where needed along drip-line the irrigation line. Pressure- compensated drippers have a consistent flow rate. Other drippers have variable flow rates depending on the water pressure. Once again, use a filter. Adjustable 4L/hr drippers 8L/hr drippers dripper head28 water wise
  31. 31. how much water am i using? Measure an individual dripper by catching the water in a cup. Measure the whole system by taking a water meter reading before and after you irrigate and calculating the difference.Don’t be a drip Looking after dripper systemsLots of water (and time) can • Check lines at least once a year for leaks and blockages.be wasted if your drip system • Cover pipes with mulch or soil. Sun exposure increasesisn’t installed properly. calcium build-up and plastic deterioration.• If you run a long line up • Drippers can get blocked by ants, dirt, calcium and more. Clear a hill, the drippers at the blockages by dismantling drippers and soaking in vinegar. top will not have enough • Dripper diaphragms corrode and get eaten by ants, look pressure to work. Run the for ant-resistant ones. Labyrinth-style drippers have no mainline up the side of the diaphragms but get blocked easily. garden and feed laterals • Salt builds up on the edge of the dripper zone in some soils if across the slope. there has been little rain to wash it down. Give a deep flush• Long lines with too many watering (about 20-30L) once a year to help reduce this. drippers can result in • If you cut through the pipe, fix it immediately. Flush any dirt similar problems. out, cut the pipes cleanly and splice with a joiner and clamps.• Forming loops with the • Install a filter and clean it regularly. main line will help equalise pressure in uphill or long U RS HO systems. Join the end of 2 Check your drippers for redundant outlets. Seal them up or the mainline back to the move the dripper to a more useful location. Fix any leaks. start instead of leaving the end loose.• Avoid putting drippers with very different flow rates on the same line. 29 water wise
  32. 32. plants How to plant natives A well-prepared planting hole is critical to the success of When it comes to plants, have new plants. Plant in autumn (except grasses – plant them a think about your garden as in spring). a whole. Will the plants be in the shade or full sun? Ask 1. Dig a hole about five times bigger than the plant’s current how much care and water root system. the plants need and for any 2. Fill the hole with water and let it drain away completely. growing hints – talk to your Repeat (in clayey soils it could take half a day to drain). garden specialist. For greater 3. Backfill with the soil mixed with a couple of handfuls of success, buy new plants in blood and bone (or another organic fertiliser) and other season and sun hardied. organic matter such as good quality potting or planting We recommend local natives – mix. Water this thoroughly. they are hardy, water efficient 4. While the soil is still moist (but not wet) dig a hole big and attract wildlife. enough for the seedling’s roots. Make sure all of the roots are under the soil level, but don’t bury the stem beyond the level of the tube or pot. 5. Pack the soil back in around the plant and press in firmly. Keep the finished level slightly lower than the surrounding area so that you have a shallow basin that will hold a half- bucket of water for any supplementary watering you may need to do over the first summer. 6. Water in with approximately 8L of water. 7. Connect a dripper (4L/hr) and check that the system delivers the right amount of flow, then cover the basin30 water wise with mulch (keeping it clear of the seedling’s stem).
  33. 33. native gardens Native gardens are hardy, low maintenance and attract wildlife. Most importantly, they can be very water Lovely locals for Central Australia efficient! Australian plants There’s a beautiful local native for every type of garden! that aren’t indigenous to For example: Central Australia can also grow well here but choose Scientific name Common name species suited to hot Shade trees Corymbia Ghost gum summers and infertile soils. apparrerinja Local native plants don’t need Acacia salicina Coobas much water after they’re Atalya hemiglauca Whitewoods established. For the first Acacia aneura Mulga three or four years give them Low decorative Solanum ellipticum Native Tomato a regular soak. Large deep- ground cover Swainsona formosa Sturt’s Desert Pea rooted trees (like Eucalypts) don’t need watering after the Frankenia Salty Heath first couple of years. serpyllifolia Wind break Melaleuca glomerata Inland tea tree Don’t worry if natives don’t grow much in summer Herbs Stemodia viscosa Sticky Blue Rod – it’s their slow time. Grass Cymbopogon Native Lemon Grass (decorative not ambiguus lawn) Scrambling vine Ipomoea costata Rock morning glory Fruit, bush Santalum Desert Quandong foods acuminatum NS Marsdenia australis Bush Banana MI Join “Gardens for10 Wildlife” to find Shade tolerant Eremophila ovata Krichauff Ranges out which wildlife shrub Fuchsia attracting species are Barrier plant Hakea leucoptera Needlewood local to your area. with prickles The registration form is available online at Salt tolerant Frankenia cordata Sea Heath www.lowecol.com.au groundcover For more local native plants see Greening Australia’s publication Native Plants for Central Australian Gardens. 31 water wise
  34. 34. exotic plants that love dry conditions There are a variety of hardy exotics suitable for planting in the region and offer an alternative to a wholly native garden or will complement native plants to create an interesting arid land or contemporary style garden. Plant varieties include: Agave Lavender Yucca Duranta Dwarf Bougainvillea Crepe Myrtle Murraya Buddleia Roses Plumbago Frangipani Tecomo Plants are tough in Central Australia! Rainfall is low and evaporation is high: • Alice Springs’ average yearly rainfall: 278mm • Alice Springs’ average yearly evaporation: 3,175mm • Tennant Creek’s average yearly rainfall: 452mm • Tennant Creek’s average yearly evaporation: 3,980mm Australian Government Bureau of Meteorology. Climate data online http://www.bom.gov.au/ climate/averages/32 water wise
  35. 35. waterwise fruitand veggiesGrowing your own veggies is economical and ensures youhave nutritious, delicious and fresh food. It also means you Permaculture principlescontrol what you eat: you don’t have to put pesticides on your Permaculture is sometimesfood and you can grow vegetables and fruits that you can’t described as a sustainablebuy from shops. living system.Alice Springs soils are great for growing a range of vegetables It is the basis for designingand fruit trees like citrus, mulberries, figs and grapes. Summer integrated systems ofcan be tough - it’s hot and pests flourish - so consider doing the food production, housing,bulk of your veggie growing in the cooler months. In summer, appropriate technology andjust grow hardy edibles such as spaghetti squash, watermelon, community development.corn, pumpkin, zucchini, rosella, basil, and snakebean with plentyof mulch and shade if needed. See the following website for more information -Good soil preparation and plenty of organic material www.milkwoodpermaculture.com.auare essential.Vegetables• Use inline dripper line for best water delivery, spacing drippers close together.• Using on/off valves, create several irrigation sections so you can choose whether to water the entire veggie patch or sections.• Use seeds grown and adapted to local conditions - visit Seed Savers online at www.seedsavers.net• Water three times a week in summer and twice in winter. Water daily in the peak of summer.• Plant on the eastern side to get morning sun and afternoon shade.• Poor health and growth can be due to pests (eg nematodes) or not enough nutrients, not necessarily a lack of water.• Consider companion planting. For example, pumpkin likes to be planted with corn and not potato. 33 water wise
  36. 36. Fruit Citrus trees need a lot of water and are happy with greywater. The roots grow near the surface and are generally about as wide as the canopy, so put a circle of drippers under the tree and keep the soil moist as salt builds up where drippers don’t reach. Alternatively, you can do weekly or fortnightly deep soaks from the hose slowly onto the root zone in the late evening in the warmer months. tip water from boiled eggs and water used to steam veggies on the garden (there is not a lot of water used for these activities but we eat a lot of boiled eggs and steamed vegies!). - jessica • For citrus, increase water between August and May when budding fruit develops. • Citrus can require 150 to 300 litres per week. It’s worth it for the fruit. Too little water will reduce the quality and quantity of fruit. • Decrease water when citrus fruit is ripe. • Decrease water for mulberries and grape vines when dormant (about April to August). • Start watering again as leaves emerge. • Stone fruit is not as successful in Central Australia as citrus and mulberries.34 water wise
  37. 37. lawnLawns can use a lot of water, • Couch grass (pronouncedtime and money. Alternatives “cooch”) invades and isto lawn include: difficult to remove, although• sand or soft mulch play area some of the hybrid varieties are not as bad.• old carpet play area How much water?• shaded paved area• groundcovers. The amount of water your lawn needs over the year isLawns can have a cooling listed below. The amount ofeffect on the house (compared water in millimetres is equalto concrete, which stores and to the amount of litres overradiates heat) and make good a square metre. For example,play areas. If you don’t want to each week in January inremove your lawn, reduce the Alice Springs, apply 60mmarea. Go for drought and salt or 60L/m2 of lawn.tolerant species. Millimetres per week (rain or irrigation) for lawn growth in Alice Springs and Tennant Creek. Apply in one or two waterings Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Alice Springs 60.8 54.9 46.6 34.8 22.1 17.6 19.1 26 34.8 46.6 53.4 58.8 Tennant Creek 56.4 53.4 53.9 51 39.7 30.9 32.8 39.7 48 55.9 61.3 56.8Agnotes- A7(2006) and 82/57 (1983). Lawns- Establishment and Maintenance, Northern Territory Government 35 water wise
  38. 38. Treat it mean and keep it green But not too green! Lawn can be pretty tough. It’s good at absorbing nutrients (handy for greywater disposal but check pH). Overwatering encourages disease and can waterlog the roots. • Periodic and deep uniform A properly designed sprinkler soaking is best as it system will save you money encourages roots to grow and trouble in the long run. deep. Daily light watering Based on your garden design encourages surface roots and the size and location of that become heat-stressed, plants and shrubbery, choose although it can be useful the size and style of sprinkler in winter to break up the head that best suits your frost. Clay soils hold more needs. Different sprinkler water. If your soil is very heads deliver different sandy you will need to amounts and pressures water more frequently. of water. Consult a local • Don’t water when windy, garden centre for your the water will blow away. own garden needs. • Use gear-driven sprinklers Does it need more water? with fat drops, not fine A sad-looking lawn can mists, to reduce evaporation prompt us to pour on more and overspray. water. Don’t be fooled! Check • Make sure your sprinklers the following before turning are evenly distributed or up the tap: you will be tempted to • Being careful of irrigation, overwater most of the lawn use a lawn aerator or so that the dry patches get garden fork to aerate enough. The edge of one compacted soil. sprinkler spray should hit the next sprinkler. • Fertilise if needed in spring and autumn. Don’t fertilise • Mow to 4cm or higher to when the lawn is not reduce evaporation. growing (winter). If your lawn is green, it doesn’t need to be fertilised. • A thin thatch layer retains moisture and prevents weeds. Too much is a problem. De-thatch in spring so it has time to re-grow. Vigorous raking with a wire rake works for small lawns.36 water wise
  39. 39. how muchwater ami using?Check your sprinkler water Sub-surface dripline and lawnuse: take a water meter You can use sub-surfacereading before and after dripline under lawn insteadyou water and calculate of sprinklers. It is very waterthe difference. efficient if done properly, but some people find itAnother method is to difficult to find leaks andplace several cans on dripper blockages.the lawn and see howmuch water you catch • Space the lines to suit(1mm= 1L/m2). If the your soil. If lines are toocans have very different far apart you will getlevels, take an average brown, dry stripes.and think about re-doing • Keep a map of the linesyour sprinkler system for so you can avoid themmore even distribution. when aerating. 37 water wise
  40. 40. pot plants Pots are a great way to grow a portable garden in a small space. However, pot plants tend to dry out quickly. • Use a premium quality potting mix (made to the Australian Standard) and mulch. • Select a large, deep pot - small pots can heat up, damaging plant roots. • Seal terracotta or use plastic. • Shade. • Place in the rain to flush out salt. • Use a wetting agent to ensure potting mix re-wets easily and retains moisture when watering. • Only add as much water as the potting mix can hold. The more water drains out, the more nutrients are leached and the more fertiliser you have to add. • Give sulphur drinks to how do other plants reduce pH. cope in central • Re-pot at least annually to ensure optimum australia? plant health. Some exotics thrive in the arid zone. Unfortunately, very hardy exotics, such as Buffel grass and Prickly Pear, thrive • Self-watering pot plants so well they become noxious weeds, choking out local have a water reservoir at plants and devastating ecosystems. the bottom. No water is lost via drainage. Search the Non-hardy exotics that need a lot of extra care and internet for DIY options. water are not suitable for waterwise gardens. If you plant exotics, go for something drought tolerant, yet non-invasive. Useful, hardy exotics include lavender and rosemary. To find out which plants will go feral, see www.weeds.gov.au38 water wise
  41. 41. 39water wise
  42. 42. water harvesting Rainwater is fantastic for plants. It is: • low in salt drinking rainwater • not alkaline like Rainwater tastes great and is usually fine to drink mains water. - as long as you take care of the tank. Unlike our mains supply it is If you don’t, the water could contain anything that “soft”. Rainwater is good for: ends up on your roof - bird droppings, dead animals • Washing clothes or hair - and algae - yuck! more suds with less soap. If the rainwater is suspect, boil or chlorinate it • Using in a hot water before drinking. system or evaporative air Enhealth, 2004. Guidance on the use of rainwater tanks, conditioner to prevent scale. Australian Government, Canberra • Supplementing mains groundwater supply to help conserve supplies for the future. landscaping • Taste! Many people prefer Direct and channel water run-off from roofs and other hard the taste. surfaces. Swales (contoured ditches), low ridges and sumps Water harvesting covers a add interest to a garden and also channel and collect rainwater. range of techniques that Rainfall is unlikely to sustain a garden, but you can still make allow you to collect, store and the most of it. use the rain that falls onto • Divert run-off from roofs, paved areas and driveways your block. with shallow spoon drains or simulated creek lines to high water usage areas like garden beds or under fruit trees. S MIN • A dry creek bed with a large central sump can be a landscape20 Download desertSMART COOLmob’s rainwater element and a large reserve for water run-off. tank calculator from • Install gravel or sand ditches. www.desertsmartcoolmob.org Calculate how much • Plants that need more water should be put in swales. water you could catch. • Terrace sections of slope to hold run-off. Compare the savings to actions listed in the • Build paved areas slightly higher than garden areas so water front of this booklet. runs off instead of puddling. • Put pot plants outside when it rains. • Create dishes around trees and channel water into them. When creating water harvesting structures keep in mind that big rainfall events will create large water flows - make sure water 40 water wise flows end up in channels or spoon drains low to avoid erosion.