News | 14 January 2021
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Tips for conserving water this summer

It’s no surprise that Wellington’s highest water usage happens over the summer. So checking for drips, collecting rainwater, and regularly looking at the forecast are just some simple ways to help conserve daily water usage in your garden throughout the warmer months.

A close-up of a leaf with rain droplets on it, with the rest of the bush blurred in the background.

Between 30 September and 7 April water restrictions apply throughout Wellington to help manage the city’s overall water usage. These restrictions include only watering your garden on odd dates if you live in an odd-numbered house, and on even dates if you live in an even-numbered house. More information about the restrictions is here.


So we sat down with one of our Otari-Wilton’s Bush gardeners, Megan Ireland, to get her top tips on how we can all conserve water this summer.


Firstly, rain is your best friend, so use it to your advantage.


“Being aware of the temperature and weather when you are watering is crucial. Make sure you check the forecast before you water your garden. If it’s going to rain, that should be enough for the day.”


You should also water your garden at the freshest point of the day so that the soil is at its coolest and the water won’t evaporate. Megan’s suggestion is to water in the morning, and then go enjoy the sun.


It’s also a smart idea to use either a water container or tank in your garden. Collecting and re-using rainwater is one of the easiest ways to reduce your overall water usage. Our friends over at Wellington Water have some great tips for how you can install your tanks.


You could also use your cooking water (once it’s cooled down, of course!) for your garden and indoor plants instead of flushing it down the sink.


Mulching is the best thing that you can do for your soil to help slow down water evaporation.


“Mulching helps to retain the water in the soil, and it keeps the weeds away. Mulching when the soil is wet will help retain the water that is already in the soil. A general note, keep an eye on how much you disturb the soil when gardening because that can dry out the soil faster.”

A hose trickling water onto a small plant growing through extremely dry soil.

It’s also important to make sure you are mowing your lawn correctly so that it absorbs the water, continues to grow throughout the summer, and doesn’t completely dry out. For lawn tips from the Council's mowing team, visit here.


The placement of your plants is important for their survival, Megan says.


“Make sure you are growing your plants in the right places. If it’s a dry area but your chosen plant loves water, it won’t survive.”


If you live on sloping land, this is a great opportunity to plant the edges of your property with some New Zealand native plants that need a lot of water to survive as they will catch the water that trickles down the slope.


“Just remember it’s okay to let your plants dry out a bit. During summer plants will naturally become dry and some need this process to grow. Don’t over water your garden as they’ll start to get overly dependent on you watering and then during the warmer periods they’ll struggle even more.”


One final tip, make sure you are monitoring all your taps daily. Check that your hose connections and washers are tight and there is no water dripping – this is an easy thing to miss and a big waste of water.


For more guidance on how you can reduce your outside water usage, read Wellington Water’s tips here.