Saving water

Water is a limited resource. The greatest increase in water demand is for garden use. Climate change is already happening and in the south of Britain, although we may have warmer and wetter winters, summer droughts are likely to occur more frequently.


Save water and minimise use

  • Collect rainwater in a water butt. Note make sure they do not present a safety hazard for children.
  • Use 'grey' water such as washing up water for use in the garden but avoid water containing too much detergent because of alkalinity.
  • Apply compost mulch, wood chips, gravel etc. to flower beds to reduce evaporation.
  • Improve water retention of soil by adding organic matter.
  • Water only in cool parts of the day to reduce evaporation.
  • Avoid sprinklers (which increases the water rate charge) - 30 minutes uses water for a family of four for a day! And if using a hose, have a 'cut-off' control on the end.
  • Direct water at the roots or sink a pipe next to particularly thirsty specimens.
  • Water less frequently but thoroughly so that surface rooting is not encouraged.
  • Allow grass to grow longer so that the lawn is less affected by dry conditions. Raise cutting blades and leave clippings.
  • Consider letting part of the lawn grow as a mini-wildflower meadow.
  • Choose plants which need less water: succulents e.g. sedums, waxy or grey-leaved plants, plants like hebe, cistus, berberis, broom, potentilla, geraniums, iris, petunias, thrift.
  • Use water retaining gel in compost for hanging baskets and pots.


  • The Consumer's Association Gardening Which? reports regularly on water saving techniques for the garden.
  • Useful leaflets are available to help you to save water in the home and garden.
    Environment Agency
    Tel 08708 506 506
  • Affinity Water
  • The Organic Gardening Catalogue
    Tel 01932 253666
  • Water butts are available to Woking residents from or by calling 0844 571 4444.