We're used to wet weather in the UK. Indeed most of us have fond childhood memories of rain-washed holidays and day trips and our gardens are resplendently green as a result – so why on earth do people want water butts at home then? This article explains what a water butt is, how they save water and reduce the cost of your water bill as well as keeping your garden in better condition no matter what the weather.
Despite those nostalgic days of sloshing about in wellington boots on a 'summer day out', you may be surprised to discover that in recent years the UK has begun to face water shortages. You may also be surprised to learn that independent monitoring organization WaterWise anticipates our current levels of household use simply will not be sustainable in the future, so it makes sense to begin save water now. Water butts can give you a distinct advantage when it comes to the health of your garden plants.
A water butt is essentially a large water tank which will save water that normally drains off your roof, giving you a free supply of "greywater" you can use for a myriad of purposes. It sits neatly next to the downpipe outside your home, through which the water from your roof flows after it is collected in your guttering. Modern 'regular' water butts come in a variety of attractive designs and colors, or opt for a wall tank, a larger water tank holding as much as 750 liters in some cases. They are simple to install and extremely durable, saving you money on your home water bill year after year.
Water meters are becoming increasingly common and may even become a standard feature in most homes in the near future. It's worth remembering your garden hose can consume up to an incredible 18 liters each minute – adding endlessly to your bill. There are a few potential set up costs which you will recoup from the money you save over time on the water bill:
• The water butt or wall tank itself
• Changing to a plastic downpipe if yours is made of iron
• Installing guttering if you do not have some, to collect all that free rainwater
The water butt simply lifts you out of the 'pay to spray cycle' and provides free water in a sustainable, environmentally responsible way. Your plants will also thank you for your investment.
You can beat any summer hosepipe bans to keep your garden lush using the water you've collected. As well as saving money on metered water, you will find that plants actually thrive better when irrigated with rainwater as opposed to your normal 'tap water'. You can use the 'greywater' from your water tank for the 'soapy' water to wash your car, yard or patio with. Whenever you need water which does not have to be of 'drinking quality', water tanks give you an instant free supply. When you consider how much water it would take through a hose to wash the average family car, it starts to make sense to use the free source simply running down your roof instead.
Water butts come in a variety of aesthetically pleasing designs to complement any garden decor. Modern designs allow for practical accessories, such as devices to interconnect several water tanks for greater collection, pumps to help you spray using a hose, and lids to keep unwelcome pests, pets and children out. Your one time investment will pay you dividends in healthier, happier green foliage, potentially smaller bills and another step in making your home more environmentally friendly.