Cape Town Level 3 Water restrictions & how to deal with them
With the current drought conditions being experienced in Cape Town and surrounding areas, The City has implemented level 3 Water Restrictions.
What these restrictions entail can be incredibly detrimental to your garden. Fear not, Julip is here to help. Read our top tricks to combat the harsh effects of the summer heat.
This should be standard practice, water restrictions or not. Mulch not only protects the top layer of soil and base of your plants from the baking sun and wind, but also will add nutrients to your soil as it breaks down. Apply a thick layer of bark, wood chip, or rough compost to the bare soil areas of your garden. Peach, apricot and various other pips work well too, but make sure to get the rinsed ones, as many have a very high salt content from their processing. This will help to retain the existing moisture in the soil, as well as prevent any nutrients from wasting away in the sun. Repeat this process as often as needed (annually/ bi annually)
2: SWITCH TO WATERWISE
Plants that cope with drought conditions/ are drought tolerant will always perform better with the current restrictions. Obviously, many gardens are already established and have their style, but don't worry, drought tolerant plants are incredibly varied. Replace plants that are dead, dying or not looking good with something more suited to current conditions. These plants arent all necessarily aloes, succulents and fynbos, so pop into Julip Nursery to see what will suit your space.
3: HARVEST GREY/ RAIN WATER
Grey water is the waste water from non-sewerage pipes in your house. Shower, bath, basin and washing machine water (NOT KITCHEN WATER) is all suitable to be used in your garden. Biodegradable soaps are recommended but not a necessity. Simple measures can be taken to collect this water. A bucket in the shower, filling the kettle while waiting for water to heat up, using the rinse water from dishwashing are all great ways to reuse water that would otherwise be wasted. If you own your property, investing in a simple day of DIY, adding "T-pieces" with a ball valve to your basin and shower outlet pipes is also brilliant. These can be connected to a hose that is moved around the garden to areas that most need the water. Grey water cant be stored for long periods, as the breakdown of various components in the water can become smelly.
Rainwater is very easy to catch, and be kept for long periods. A simple bucket underneath each down pipe from the gutters can quickly save a lot of usable water. If budget allows, a water collection tank is a very good investment, and can be connected to irrigation, depending on the size of the tank. Lots of valuable information is available on the internet about how to install a rainwater collection tank your self .
4: WATER IN THE DARK
Well... not necessarily in the dark, but either very early or very late in the day. The lack of heat means more water will actually get to where it needs to be... at the roots. Less water will be needed than if watering during the day, and the roots will thank you for it as they absorb the water better.
5: WATER WHERE WATER IS NEEDED
Plants are generally very good at letting us know when theyre thirsty. Water the things that look like they could do with water. Water is precious at the moment, so wasting any on watering the bare ground wont help anyone. Water the base of each plant, and water slowly. Pouring water on Cape Towns famous dry silica sand ast, will just run away from where you wanted it to go. A slow steady flow of water will penetrate the soil far better. This brings us to our next point.
6: DRIP IRRIGATION
Drip irrigation can be made at home very inexpensively. Any old pool pipes, gutter pipes, hoses can all be used to make a drip irrigation pipe if you cant afford to buy the real thing. Small holes can be made in these pipes and connected to an elevated bucket filled with water. Gravity will feed the flow of water through the pipe that will slowly drip water to the areas needed. Holes in the pipe can be strategically placed at the base of each plant that needs water. Drip irrigation (the real thing) can also be used in this manner on a lawn (or even under the lawn as long as each hole is protected with a weed membrane) to water larger open spaces without using a tap.
7: THE WATER BOTTLE TRICK
Have pots or larger open ground plants that need slow release water? Dig a hole near to the plant/ in the pot that can fit a 500ml water bottle into it. Make lots of little holes in the water bottle and place it in the hole. Cover this up to the bottle neck. Leave the lid off and fill the bottle with water. Water will slowly drip though the holes and water the plant slower and more directly, saving masses of water in the process.
8: BE SMART
This is everyones issue. Speak up to your neighbours, your friends, your nanny, gardener or domestic helper or anyone else who is using municipal water in their garden. Many people havent even heard about the restrictions, let alone what they entail. We need to educate everyone we possibly can as to how dire the situation really is, as well as how it can affect us long term. Make sure your taps are properly switched off, and any leaky taps are serviced.
Remember, hefty penalties can be incurred for improper usage of water. Washing down of paved areas is illegal, washing of cars can be done with a bucket or watering can only. Watering cans and buckets may also be used to water your garden, but remember to control the flow of water to water only what is needed.
For any other help, advice or clever tricks you use, please feel free to contact us at Julip Landscaping and Nursery!