News | 1 May 2024
Share on social

Berhampore Nursery tapping into Wellington rainwater

After a long and dry summer which has extended into autumn, Wellington City Council’s Berhampore Nursery has installed a 15,500 litre water tank to capture rainwater from several of the nursery's buildings' roofs to reduce water usage.

Woman watering plants at a nursery with a water tank in the background.

The rainwater captured in the tank will be repurposed on growing nursery plants, which in turn will reduce annual water consumption, says Berhampore Nursery Manager Jeff Paris.

“We wanted to take advantage of Wellington’s generous winter rainfall and turn it into a sustainable resource for the nursery. We estimate that the nursery will save a minimum of 50,000 litres of collected water per year, just from this one tank.

“From an eco-conscious perspective, we believe moving to more sustainable practices is the right thing to do."

Plants grown at the Berhampore Nursery are planted for revegetation and restoration purposes across Wellington’s parks and reserves. Each year the nursery grows around 100,000 native plants, which are then distributed to community groups and the Wellington City Council parks and gardens team for planting.

Not only will this save water consumption, but rainwater is far more beneficial to plant growth than potable tap water, Jeff explains.

“Rainwater contains more oxygen than tap water, while also containing carbon dioxide which helps release micronutrients in the soil, making them bioavailable (allowing plants to uptake the micronutrients from the soil). This may prove to be a better option in supporting plant health.”

The sun rising over Berhampore Nursery.

This initiative, alongside other efforts is to make us more sustainable, Jeff says. In the past few years, the team has swapped planter bags with reusable one-litre pots, in an effort to reduce single-use plastic waste. 

“After revegetation planting days, the pots and carry trays are returned to the nursery, sorted and stored, ready for the next season. We get three to four years of use from each pot.

“While nursery staff have more sorting, grading and storage to do with these reusable pots, they are fully supportive of the initiative. We all believe it’s a far better option than sending plastic bags to the landfill, or bags not being removed from planting sites.”

The work that the team do at the Berhampore Nursery is incredibly important to the city, says Open Space and Parks Manager Bradley Schroder. 

“Planting not only increases biodiversity, but provides opportunities to work with many community groups, reliant on volunteer effort. Since the seeds are ‘eco-sourced,’ which means they are collected locally, the plants are more likely to survive Wellington’s unique and tough environmental conditions.

"This means we keep our green spaces looking greener for longer.”

Find out more about the Berhampore Nursery.