Putting the bits together

With the continued waterless periods most people have improvised with water storage methods. Storage can be in something as simple as recycled soft drink bottles to something more elaborate such as a several thousand litre tanks with a pump system to raise the emergency water to a required level for geysers, toilets, showers etc.

2lt soft drink bottles are easy to use. During the rainy season, they can be replenished using harvested rainwater. A dedicated area in a storeroom or garden shed can be allocated for storage. In most instances, two 2lt bottles of stored water will sufficiently flush a toilet when emptied into the cistern.

Used 20lt PVA paint drums/buckets with their lids make excellent water storage containers. If properly cleaned and fresh or rainwater is stored in these drums it can safely be used on pot plants or the veggie patch. The buckets also stack neatly on top of each other thereby utilising limited space.

Grey water is all bath, shower and washing machine water. When storing grey water it can become a bit pungent when a lidded bucket is opened. To minimize this store only the last rinse water. The last rinse water is collected in a large container such as a plastic dustbin, 80-100lt, it can be reused as the primary water for the next wash cycle.

Should storing grey water not be feasible or desirable serious thought should be given to recycling the water to the garden. Remember this water belongs to you and therefore warrants reuse especially in winter. One of the ingredients in soap power (detergent) is potassium (K) hydroxide. Plants require potassium for root growth which improves mineral and water uptake, plant stem strength and flowering potential.

However, as with everything, to much grey water in one spot can be negative. The sign to look out for is a white layer forming on the soil surface. To minimise this fresh water can be mixed with the grey water. Also, correct detergent ratio to wash size is important.

Finally, those of us blessed with trees in the garden should leave the autumn leaves in the flower beds. This practice is known as mulching and is beneficial in retaining soil moisture and weed suppression. You will find a little grey water goes a long way in maintaining an acceptable soil moisture level.

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