I received an email yesterday from Landscape Juice about an appeal by some people in the Landscape industry to be exempt from the temporary hosepipe ban that comes into effect from 5th April.
The letter, from a garden designer, asks for special dispensation for landscapers and designers to be exempt from the hosepipe ban to help establish newly planted gardens and lawns. It has been suggested that anyone in agreement modifies the letter and sends it to their local water company.
I am fundamentally against this. How can we, as industry professionals, set an example by trying to say that conserving water in a drought really shouldn’t apply to us or our clients – even if it is only short-term? It is our responsibility to educate and advise not just to please. Lifting the ban for our own professional gain and for that of our clients is so wrong. There are plenty of ways that business can carry on during a hosepipe ban – making the most of the dry weather to do hard landscaping and preparation of beds in readiness for planting when there is no hosepipe ban looming.
Alternatively, install drip irrigation systems – these are exempt from the ban and take water directly to where it’s needed without wasting any on paths, fences and into the air. Individual plants and small vegetable plots can be watered with a watering can (as long as it hasn’t been filled by a hose), water from water butts can be used. Apparently we could all live off the water that falls off our roofs during the year – we just need to collect and re-use it. I went to a talk by an irrigation company last year that was sobering to say the least – we were informed that if WWIII ever occurs it’s more than likely it will be over access to water – this is a serious issue, and should not be bypassed.
The point is, that by highlighting the issue to clients the message will be taken on board, at least in some form. Passing on this knowledge is far more important than the short-term gains of planting the garden immediately, so it’s ready for summer.
Thames Water take 70% of their water from rivers – I imagine if people saw a river in dire need of its water they might be less likely to turn on the hose. I used a hose to water a newly planted tree last year – straight into a submerged pipe so that the water went to the roots where it’s needed…I forgot about it – remembering in the middle of the night and it made me feel sick that I had wasted so much water – you can’t forget to stop pouring a watering can. Hoses just use more water, even when you don’t forget to turn them off.
We can move towards using drought tolerant plants without the garden looking like a desert and we can do very simple things to help conserve water – drenching pots before planting, digging organic matter into the soil and mulching to reduce evaporation as I said in my last post. People follow examples and we owe it to the environment to set a good one.