As part minimising the impact of our house and lifestyle, conserving water is just as important as conserving energy. Indeed, if we consider that it takes energy to clean, move (pump), and then dispose of water, saving water goes hand in hand with saving energy.
Features we have to minimise our water use are:
- using a wetland-pond area for recycling household greywater (subject of a future blog)
- water-saving shower and tap fittings
- a compost toilet (previous blog entry)
- green (living) rooves (previous blog entry)
- rainwater collectors (rainwater harvesting)
For a full list of the house features you can visit this previous blog entry
Although Japan has plenty of rainfall (on average, about double that of the UK), from a gardener’s point of view, there are often long tough periods without rain. May of this year (2015) for example was particularly dry, and after the June rainy season, will probably be as usual; very hot, humid, and dry.
It is during these times that one really appreciates how much water is needed to grow food, something that consumers are often not aware of when they buy imported greens or meat from relatively dry countries – Australia, Africa etc. The consequence is that we can accumulate very large hidden water footprints – embedded or virtual water. In the worse cases, we may be contributing indirectly to water stress in other countries that are exporting food and other consumables with large amounts of embedded water.
A good site to get an idea of the water footprints of different products you can visit sites such as:
- http://virtualwater.eu which offers a free water footprint app
- http://www.angelamorelli.com/water/ presents very clearly some great statistics
Returning to the water saving features. To help save water consumption in the garden, we collect as much rainwater as possible. During very dry spells, I use up to 80 litres per day watering. A more sophisticated way to tackle this problem however is to use more efficient watering methods than the simple watering can. These include drip feed irrigation or clay pot irrigation that have the potential to cut water use by up to 70%.
Happy rainy season.