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How Can Rainwater Harvesting Help?

How Can Rainwater Harvesting Help the Environment?

The world is developing rapidly and the pace of change is increasing. The world’s ever-expanding population combined with climate change anxieties are changing opinion on the world’s water resources.

Climate change is currently at the forefront of the world's political agenda at Paris COP21. It's vital that we recognise the relationship between water and climate. Here we address the question - why is rainwater harvesting important to the environment?

Water impacts our quality of life. The UN has reported a direct correlation between poverty, hunger and water stress. With the world’s climate continuing to increase, so does the risk of drought. South Africa and California are just two examples of where devastating droughts have occurred in 2015.

Severe drought is bad for the ecosystem, agriculture and the economy.  Decreased agricultural production means the cost of food rises. But, drought runs deeper than that, it is also about economic inequality.  Those who live in poverty are those that suffer worst.  Even in the developed state of California it has been reported that racial disparities and political dysfunction are at the heart of the state's water crisis.

In the UK drought is relatively common, with one happening every 5-10 years. In 2010-2012 England and Wales suffered a prolonged two year drought, making this one of the most significant droughts of the last 100 years.
The fact is that the world depends on a reliable, clean supply of drinking water to sustain our health. We also need water for agriculture, energy production, navigation, recreation, and manufacturing. Many of these uses put pressure on water resources, stresses that are likely to be exacerbated by climate change. In many areas, climate change is likely to increase water demand while water supplies shrink.

With the world’s population also increasing at a staggering rate, the possibility of not being able to feed the world is a real one.  It takes 200,000,000 litres per second to grow food for the planet. The Food and Agriculture Organisation (FAO) estimates that we need to increase agricultural production by 70% to feed the projected 9 billion people expected on the planet by 2050, but how do we produce enough water to fuel this agricultural production?

Increasingly, examples from around the world show that rainwater harvesting for domestic supply can positively address multiple issues regarding safe and reliable water supply, food and even income security, whilst reducing negative impacts on ecosystems.

In the past rainwater harvesting has been dismissed for being too costly, but in fact, the cost of implementation can often be less than other, more traditional engineered public water supply methods. 

Installing one of our basic Rainwater Harvesting Packages at your home for example, means that you can virtually eliminate the need to use tap water for many outdoor and domestic uses, such as, watering the garden, washing the car, cleaning the windows and mopping the floors. Rainwater can be collected by installing a Gutter Mate Diverter & Filter to your downpipe.

Find out more about how to begin rainwater harvesting. In our post, 4 Steps to Rainwater Harvesting.

How to Save Water This Christmas

How to Save Water This Christmas Header Image

Christmas is a fantastic time of year to look towards the future, not only in our own lives but also in the lives of others. Water conservation is one of the best things we can do individually, that can help others in the future, and with the amount of cooking and cleaning that goes on in and around Christmas, there are many ways in which you can limit your water usage!


Whether you are prepping your house for guests, or cleaning up after Christmas day, you're sure to do your fair share of cleaning. This can take a fair bit of water to accomplish, especially if you're cleaning the whole house.

Lemon and vinegar is a great alternative to most chemical cleaning options, and you're bound to use less water overall. Why not try a more organic cleaning solution for Christmas?

Re-Use Water

Preparing the Christmas dinner the night before is a popular tradition, and saves time on Christmas day. While you're soaking vegetables, why not keep that water to be used the next day for when you boil your veg?

Similarly, once you've finished boiling your vegetables, you can use the same water for your garden! Starch released from potatoes and other veg can stimulate nutrient release in the soil.

Food Scraps

Rather than scraping food waste in to your bin (where it will end up in landfill), or rinsing your plate under the tap (wasting water), why not simply add your food waste to a composter?

A composter can break down most types of food waste, but a hot-composter will be needed to break down meat and cheese. This will provide you with nutrient-rich compost which you can use for your garden!

General Tips

  • Fill a dishwasher to the brim to make the most of the water, if washing in the sink, be sure to use a bowl
  • Keep cold pitchers of water in the fridge so you don't have to run the tap every time
  • Don't defrost frozen foods with hot water, leave them overnight to defrost on their own
  • If you have a real tree, use any leftover water to keep it watered
  • You can use a water butt to harvest rainwater and provide usable water for your toilet, washing machine, and more!


Why Harvest Rainwater and What You Can Do with It

Why harvest rainwater and what you can do with it

Why Harvest Rainwater & What You Can Do with it

With the increasing unpredictability of the British weather, there hasn’t ever been a better time to harvest rainwater for use around your home and garden. It may sound more complex than it is but, in basic terms, all you’re doing is collecting water that would have been wasted to put to use. In this post, we’re looking at what benefits there are to collecting rainwater, how you can collect water and what you can do once you have it.

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What are the different types of rainwater harvesting systems?

What are the different types of rainwater harvesting systems?

Most of us know the benefits of installing a rainwater harvesting system in our gardens but would like to know more about what types would suit their home best.  There are a few types of rainwater harvesting systems that are used domestically and commercially so depending on your needs, one of these will suit you. Which system you pick completely depends on your needs and space available, after reading this article you should be able to pick a system that’s perfect for you.

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Prepare your garden for hot weather

Prepare your garden for hot weather

With July seeing record breaking high temperatures, some of us worried about the welfare of our gardens. Dry soils and lack of consistent rain meant that our efforts to keep fragile plants alive were boosted to make sure we didn’t lose any of the hard work we had put in. The memory of droughts and hose pipe bans in previous years can leave us gardeners worried as we know how quickly the weather can change. Every drop of water matters and no matter how it is being used we all must ensure that we do not waste any of it. Hopefully you have a water butt installed already and are capitalising on the intermittent downpours and storms that we have had, but if you do not we have other ways to make sure your garden survives a hot summer.

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Farm Rainwater Washdown Systems

Farm Rainwater Washdown Systems

Tending to a farm can take up a lot of time and effort especially when it comes to cleaning.  There are often several different types of animals producing faecal waste every day; from cow sheds to pigsty’s and fields of mulch. It can feel like an endless job when cleaning up and moving waste out of the way.   

However, by investing in one of our farm rainwater washdown systems you can make light work of it.  The farm rainwater system reduces labour intensive work and requires less attention.  You can pump collected rainwater through the dirt and wash it away in a sustainable and eco-conscious way.  When this water is filtered you can also use it to fill up drinking troughs and clean other areas of your farm, this is something we can lend our expertise to.

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Installing A Garden Irrigation System: How It Works

Garden irrigation systems aren’t hugely prevalent across British gardens, but those who do use them to water their plants will easily attest to their benefits. Hand watering or using a hose or sprinkler system can waste over half of the water used due to evaporation or drainage runoff. By comparison, garden irrigation provides a far more efficient method of watering plants and flowers, offering less water wastage and taking less time to complete overall.

Despite these clear advantages, many homeowners are not making use of these systems for their gardens. This may well be due to the fact that people don’t actually know how easy it is to set up their own garden irrigation systems, with just a few components needed to get started. Here’s our guide on how it works, how to get your home system set up, and the benefits it can bring to your garden.


How does garden irrigation work?

Garden irrigation is a way of giving your plants the water they need whilst minimising any waste. Instead of watering them from above, the direct approach provided by irrigation can be suited for any size of garden and any number of plants, from hanging baskets to large flowerbeds. The irrigation systems themselves can take a few different forms, such as direct drip irrigation, soaker hoses, and garden reservoirs, all of which can send water straight to the precise part of soil which needs hydration.


Installing your garden irrigation system

There are two main forms of garden irrigation which are available to consumers: a garden reservoir or a water dripper system. The former requires a central basin of water, which can be dug into the soil near the plants you are looking to water, and some strips of cloth. Once you have filled the basin, place one end of each piece of cloth inside, and extend the cloth onto the soil close to whichever of your plants you wish to water. Water from the basin will be absorbed by the cloth, and then transfer onto the dry soil it touches.

For a more thorough method of watering your plants, you will need to buy the component parts to make up a drip irrigation system. This will be connected directly to your garden hose, and leads out to a series of individual drippers which can be fitted inside your pots or flowerbeds. Part of the reason this will save more water than using a watering can is that, by virtue of being hooked up to your water supply, you can attach a water timer which will only let out water at specified times.

Drip irrigation is powered by drippers—a series of micro-hoses, which provide water to specific areas of your garden. You simply have to count how many plants or parts of your garden you need to water to determine how many you will need. These drippers are then connected to your main hose via a series of supply hoses, which need to be dug into the soil near the plants you need to water.


Benefits of garden irrigation systems

Garden irrigation, as stated above, is primarily useful for providing targeted irrigation while simultaneously reducing the amount of water which is normally wasted when keeping your garden hydrated, thanks to a water timer. However, the environment isn’t the only thing that will benefit from having an irrigation system in place in your garden.

Irrigating your garden will directly improve the quality of your soil and your plants, as it prevents overwatering, which removes nutrients in the soil and can occasionally compact it, which leads to diseases within the roots. If the soil in your garden is watered beyond the areas where your plants and flowers are growing, it will also encourage the growth of weeds, which could further wreck your garden’s overall health.

The Gutter Mate Diverter & Filter

The Gutter Mate Diverter & Filter

The Dangers of a blocked gutter


A historic issue with the operation of guttering on a house is and has been the build-up of debris, moss and leaves in their gutters. The main cause of this has been the standard practise of roofing contractors or DIY people of fitting what is called a bell or balloon type strainer in the top of the downpipe to prevent debris, leaves, moss from going down the downpipe. This may be done with good intensions; however, the leaves and moss collect around the strainer and block it. This means someone must climb a ladder to clean it, with the inherent danger of falling off the ladder.

Dirt getting into your tanks and barrels leads to complications as it blocks up the flow of water leading to an inefficient and ineffective water harvesting system. This is where the Gutter Mate Diverter & Filter provides you with a simple yet effective solution.  Find out more today...

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How Garden Irrigation Can Save Your Plants From A Heatwave

The recent heatwave across the United Kingdom has been a mixed blessing for most Brits. Whilst the chance to bask in some serious sunlight has not been unwelcome, the impact the weather has had on nature has had graver consequences. The most newsworthy of these was the damage caused to many vegetable crops which, as a result, have struggled to meet increased consumer demand, leading to an overall shortage of produce. This could have a knock-on effect into the rest of the year’s vegetable yield, impacting lettuce, cauliflower, and broccoli.

However, as temperatures soared into the mid-thirties, there was also a recurring threat of a dreaded hosepipe ban, making it difficult to keep gardens tended and plants watered adequately during the drought. One was enforced in Northern Ireland at the end of June, shortly before the heatwave’s peak, and while an all-out ban was not put into place across the rest of the Great Britain, the extremely high temperatures left at least one firm asking for additional water from other regions.

With that in mind, keeping your garden green in such punishing weather conditions could seem impossible. Fortunately, there is a solution: garden irrigation systems. At Water Butts Direct, we offer a range of products which can keep your garden looking fresh as a daisy, even at the height of summer. But how does garden irrigation work, and what are the benefits during a heatwave?


How do garden irrigation systems work?

In agriculture, irrigation is the process which keeps crops supplied with water in any conditions, whether via a network of underground tubes which pump water, or a series of sprinklers, amongst other methods. A garden irrigation system simply does this on a much smaller scale, and there are an ever-growing number of domestic garden irrigation options available.

Garden irrigation systems such as water drippers can be connected to hose pipes or an alternative source, providing a small but constant supply of water to plants. They can be installed beneath the ground or connected directly to your plant pots and lawn through a series of interconnecting hoses and drippers.


How is garden irrigation beneficial during a heatwave?

Sprinklers are one of the most commonly-used methods of irrigation in the country’s gardens. However, since they need to be hooked up to your home’s main water supply, they can’t be counted on as a reliable option in the event of a nationwide water shortage.

One of the major benefits of home irrigation—particularly during a heatwave—is that it gives you the ability to collect water from various sources to use at a later date. This means that you won’t be contravening a hosepipe ban, and allows you to conserve water during a drought. This water can be collected and recycled from a number of sources, from rainfall to old cooking or dishwater.

Conserving this in a home reservoir or water butt enables you to have a constant, sustainable source of water for your garden which won’t be impacted in the event of a water shortage. This stored water can then be harnessed by your home irrigation system, which can be set up on your lawn and within your flower beds and activated via a timer to provide your garden with the water it needs.


How can a garden irrigation system keep your plants alive in a heatwave?

 According to recent research from the American Chemical Society, plants don’t really get sunburn, and actually “produce special molecules...to protect themselves”. The main cause of damage to plants during hot weather comes from dried soil and not being given enough water. However, there are certain times of day which are better for watering plants than others—namely the early evening, when greenery has “enough time to dry out, but there is still the chance for overnight water uptake”.

This is where garden irrigation can be the ideal solution, providing water either in a constant low stream or through a timer which can be adjusted to suit the conditions of your garden. With an irrigation system set to activate in the (relatively) cool early evenings, you’ll be doing all you can to protect your plants from sweltering heat.

Explore our collection of garden irrigation systems here.

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