Hosepipe ban – is there an alternative watering system for your garden?

Posted on: Tuesday , 7 July 2015 Posted By: admin

It has been well documented that the UK has been experiencing lower than average rainfall, leading to drought conditions in some areas. The South East was officially declared in drought by Environment Secretary Caroline Spelman, following a summit this week with water companies, horticultural trade bodies and growers.

The effect this will have on gardens throughout this region will likely be long reaching, with a hosepipe ban expected to come into force as early as April 5th. The use of hosepipes and sprinklers – including lawn sprinklers and micro sprinklers – for watering gardens will be prohibited. There are some exceptions to this, if you have a bore hole, a rainwater harvesting system or if you are a registered disabled, blue badge holder, then some suppliers (although not all) will allow the use of sprinklers. Please make sure you check with your water provider for details.

In regions of drought where a hosepipe ban will be imposed, there are really two choices for watering your garden – a drip irrigation system or carrying heavy watering cans around every day.
Several of the water companies have now recognised that it is more efficient to use a drip watering system than even hand watering. Most of the drought affected areas will now be permitted to use a drip irrigation system provided they are fitted with a pressure reducer and can be controlled with a timer.

What is a drip irrigation system?

It is a low pressure, low volume water delivery method, designed to deliver a small amount of water – in some cases just a drip – direct to the roots of the plant. It keeps the plants roots moist without saturation. A drip irrigation system is made from flexible plastic pipe with valve controlled perforations positioned around the base of the plants. The pipe can easily be disguised with a layer of mulch which will also provide an additional barrier to help prevent water loss through evaporation.

The benefits of drip irrigation

  • There is up to a 50% reduction in water usage when it is correctly installed and maintained
  • It connects directly to the hose bib so no need to cut or disrupt water pipes
  • It targets the exact area where the water is needed (plant roots not weeds) and at the exact time (using a timer)
  • Water is delivered without the roots becoming too wet, reducing the promotion of fungal diseases
  • It can be used in almost any environment : flower beds, raised beds, pots, vegetable rows, balconies etc
  • improves water holding capacity in sandy soils

If you do not already have an irrigation system, then a drip system can be easily installed. If you do already have a sprinkler or other irrigation system, then it can be converted temporarily to get your garden through this period until the ban is lifted. Please note that a drip irrigation system is not able to cover lawns.

At Haskett we are able to supply and install a drip irrigation system in your garden to ensure that your investment in plants, shrubs and trees will be secured. Please contact us and we will be very happy to discuss watering solutions for your garden.