Recycling waste food and packaging are well known solutions to achieving a greener home. However the huge amount of water left to run off our roofs is a largely untapped source (excuse the pun). Setting up a water butt (or rainwater tank) in your garden to capture this “greywater” is an easy way to cut your water bill and have a plentiful supply through dry summers and drought restrictions.
Despite its notorious reputation for wet weather, the UK is beginning to experience water shortages, with the lowest rainfall, groundwater and reservoir levels for decades. According to Water Wise, on average each person in the UK uses 150 litres of water a day. This figure has been rising by 1% a year since 1930 and is not sustainable in the long-term.
The average household uses about 7% of its water outdoors. Using greywater from a water butt will save you from having to use costly tap water for garden irrigation, car washing and anything else that does not require the use of drinking water. In fact, most plants prefer rainwater to tap water so your garden will thrive if you give it greywater.
The water-hungry hosepipe can use as much as 18 litres of water a minute. In 30 minutes that’s more water than the entire average family uses in a day. The average house roof collects approximately 85,000 litres of rain each year which just runs straight into the sewers. This is a terrible waste, especially if you have a water meter. That amount of water could fill hundreds of water butts. Read on to find out how you can tap into this free resource.
How is a water butt set up?
The first thing you need to do is make sure you have space for your water butt next to the downpipe (the pipe that drains rain water from your roof). Also, you will need to make sure that you have a plastic downpipe, and not an iron one. If you do not have the necessary guttering, it may be worth considering setting it up to save water costs.
Setting up a water butt is very simple, but you should follow the instructions provided with your model carefully to ensure that it is installed correctly. One method is to remove the bottom of your downpipe so that the upper part flows directly into the water butt which is positioned beneath it. You will also need to add an overflow pipe to take excess water to the drain. Alternatively, you can remove part of your downpipe and fit a rain diverter over the cut area to channel water straight into the butt. Once the water butt is full excess water will go directly into the downpipe. To receive water from the diverter, your water…