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Waterwise Gardens Information Sheet - Australia Water Corporation

Waterwise Gardens Information Sheet - Australia Water Corporation

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Waterwise Gardens Information Sheet - Australia Water Corporation
Waterwise Gardens Information Sheet - Australia Water Corporation

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Published by: Drought Gardening Solutions Group on Aug 10, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial


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Waterwise Gardens
ISBN 1 74043 723 3
Western Australia is a dry State in a dry continent. Water is vital to life andour quality of life and it supports the natural environment, public health,the economy, community amenity and recreation.
 To ensure that there is enough water for all, we need to address the challenges of our drying climate, increasingpopulation and minimising our environmental impact. We all need to work together to reduce our water use,recycle more water and develop new sources to supplement existing supplies. This information sheet is one of a series designed to enhance community understanding of water related topics.
water for all, forever
Western Australians love their gardens. In Perth, gardenirrigation accounts for 39% of an average household’s schemewater consumption (Figure 1). Although it has decreased overthe past decade (down from 54% in 2001), garden irrigationremains the single highest use of scheme water by residentialcustomers.It is important that we make our gardens more waterecient to better suit our drying climate while maintainingthe essential amenity they provide to our community. Thisinformation sheet outlines options to help you create amore waterwise garden. Taking the time to plan and investin a waterwise garden will save you water and money in thelong term.
Garden design
 To deliver the right amount of water to dierent groups of plants (without over or under watering), divide your gardeninto watering zones (i.e. hydrozones). Hydrozoning isgrouping plants with similar water needs together.
Improve the soil
Western Australia’s sandy soils are typically nutrient poor anddo not retain water well, this is particularly so in Perth on theSwan Coastal Plain. Sandy soils can be improved with theaddition of organic matter such as compost, soil improver,and soil amendments like Bentonite clay or zeolite. Soil canbe improved at the time of planting or by adding a layer of compost to existing plants.
Mulch, mulch, mulch
Applying up to 10cm of good waterwise mulch can greatlyreduce evaporation loss. It also has many other benets, suchas improving the soil, reducing plant stress and weed growth, aswell as improving the appearance of your garden. The best mulch to use has large chunky particles, which holdlittle to no water. Look for mulch with the Smart ApprovedWaterMark.
Figure 1
Average Perth residential water use by area (%)
 Shower and bath
 Washing machine
 Evaporative air conditioner
 Pool & spa
Choose efficient irrigation
 The most ecient irrigation system to use is a dripper systembecause water can be delivered to where the plants need it,their roots. The Waterwise Garden Irrigator program provides industrystandards for the design, installation and maintenance of your irrigation system. To nd a Waterwise Garden Irrigatoror your nearest Waterwise Irrigation Design Shop visitwatercorporation.com.au and follow the ‘Being waterwise’ links.
Lawn irrigation
 The most practical way to irrigate lawns is via sprinklers. MProtator sprinkler is considered very ecient. Visit our websitefor more information on sprinkler types and their equivalentrecommended run times.Remember only 10mm is required for areas south of Kalbarriand 20mm for areas north of Kalbarri. Irrigation should occuronly once on your watering day either before 9am or after6pm. A catch cup test is recommended to check your irrigationtime is not over the specied application rate. Over wateringis actually a waste and sprinkler rosters are designed with ourclimate in mind. Every time we water we should irrigate justenough to penetrate the top 30cm of soil, where the feederroots are.If you have areas of brown patches in your lawn, considerinstalling an extra sprinkler in this spot rather than increasingthe irrigation time. Often sprinkler coverage does not overlap.It is also important to have the same type of sprinklers toensure application rates are consistent.
ISBN 1 74043 723 3
System maintenance
It’s easy to ‘set and forget’ your irrigation so it is important toregularly check that the system is working correctly. It’s alsoimportant to check your back up battery which providespower to your irrigation system during a blackout.Irrigation systems should also be checked regularly to x anyleaks and address any inappropriate irrigation of roads andpaved areas.A winter sprinkler ban applies in Perth and some parts of theSouth West, during which your irrigation system should beturned o.
While lawn can be an aesthetic and functional addition toany garden (as well as providing cooling benets) it doesgenerally require more water than waterwise garden beds, andmore maintenance in terms of fertilising and mowing. TheCorporation advises householders to consider how much lawnthey need, and specically where they need it, when planninga new garden.When deciding on what lawn to plant, drought tolerantvarieties such as Couch, Bualo, Zoysia, Saltene or Kikuyu aremore likely to survive in Perth’s climate.
Synthetic or articial turf is another option to use less waterin a garden. The Corporation supports customer choice inthe installation of synthetic lawn. However we do encourageour customers to do their own research before making thisdecision as there are other issues to consider (eg syntheticlawn can be hot to walk on).
water for all, forever

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