Waterwise House and Garden Manual - Australia

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Waterwise House and Garden Manual - Australia

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  • 1. WaterwiseHouse&GardenA Guide for Sustainable LivingAllan Windust

2. National Library of Australia Cataloguing-in-Publication:Windust, Allan.Waterwise house and garden: a guide for sustainable living.ISBN 0 643 06800 7ISBN 0 643 0698 61. Landscape gardening Water conservation Australia.2.Water conservation Australia Citizen participation.I. Title.333.91220994Copyright Allan Windust 2003All rights reserved. Except under the conditions described in the Australian Copyright Act1968 and subsequent amendments, no part of this publication may be reproduced, storedin a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical,photocopying, recording, duplicating or otherwise, without the prior permission of thecopyright owner. Contact LANDLINKS PRESS for all permission requests.First published 2003, reprinted 2003Published by and available from:Landlinks PressPO Box 1139Collingwood Vic. 3066AustraliaTelephone: +61 3 9662 7666Freecall: 1800 645 051 (Australia only)Fax: +61 3 9662 7555Email: publishing.sales@csiro.auWebsite: www.landlinks.comCover design and text design by James KellySet in 11/14 MinionPrinted in Australia by LigareFront cover photograph courtesy of Allan Windust.DisclaimerWhile the author, publisher and others responsible for this publication have takenall appropriate care to ensure the accuracy of its contents, no liability is acceptedfor any loss or damage arising from or incurred as a result of any reliance on theinformation provided in this publication. 3. ForewordThere is no doubt that Australia is a dry country where water plays an important rolein growing plants, particularly at present.We use a lot of water in our homes, especiallyon our gardens.Most parts of Australia have dry periods that can extend to becomedroughts. Right now many cities are experiencing problems maintaining their watersupplies. These problems will continue into the future unless we act now.We can alluse less water in our houses and gardens.Allan Windust shows many ways we can reduce our water consumption and stilllive well. He offers a range of options some require little effort beyond changing oureveryday habits in small ways that, in the end, add up to significant water savings.I like the way he explains the science behind gardening and how plants use water.This gives us insights into how we can become waterwise gardeners.The book mentions many plants that you could find useful in your area, butremember to talk with your local nursery about such plants.Allan has given a lot of thought to the management of a waterwise house andgarden.Well done Allan Im sure readers will be rewarded with your many hints.Always remember: gardening must be relaxing, not something to worry about.Happy gardening!Kevin Heinze AMKevin and Allan with the eucalypt that Kevinplanted in his garden over 40 years ago. 4. This page intentionally left blank 5. ContentsAcknowledgments ixChapter 1 Introduction 1Chapter 2 The value of water 3Chapter 3 The importance of plants 5Work with nature 5A positive experience 6Chapter 4 The house and garden system 7Aim to survive and go on surviving 7Spin-offs 8The suburban carbon sink 8The suburban aviary 9Salinity 9Dollars and cents 11Australian climate 11Australian droughts 11Chapter 5 Waterwise strategies 15Choose your approach 15Know your climate 15View the house and garden as a system 16Rainfall 16Mains water 17Garden evapotranspiration and seepage losses 17Household losses 18Become water-conscious then a water-saver 18Chapter 6 Waterwise options 19Household reticulation options 19Toilet 19Shower 19Washing machine 20Laundry sink 20Hand basin 20Kitchen sink and dishwasher 20Bath 20Garden watering methods and appliances 21Bucket using mains water 21Hose using mains or tank water 21Sprinklers using filtered mains water 22Misters using filtered mains water 24Porous (sweat) hoses using filtered low-pressure mains or tank supply 25Dripper hoses using filtered mains or tank water 26Individual drippers using filtered mains or tank water 27Filters for mains supply or tank water 27 6. vi Waterwise House & GardenTimers 28Moisture meters 28Automated systems using mains pressure systems 29Pot plants 29On-site catchment and storage in water tanks 30Regulations 30Uses 31Capacity 31Drinking water 32Installation 32Tank construction 33Inspection and maintenance 33Elevated water tank 34On-ground water tank 34Your swimming pool 35Underground water tank 35Tank water for toilet cisterns 36Ponds 37Recycling household wastewater 37Recycling untreated grey water onto the garden 39Washing machine and washing tub grey water 40Showers: clear or grey water 40Baths: grey water 40Hand-basins: grey water 41Kitchen sink or dishwasher: grey water 41Septic tank effluent: black water 41Treatment and reuse of grey water 41Use of treated grey water on gardens 48Grey water reuse conclusions 48Garden watering methods 49Moisture testing 49Frost 50Heat stress 50Foliage or root watering 51Lawns 51Water budget 52Watering times 52Chapter 7 The theory and practice of mulching 53Insulation 54Mulch as habitat and food 55Worms in soil without mulch 56Worms in soil with mulch 56Soil protection 56Weed suppression 57Weeds as green manure 57Mulch as cosmetic ground cover 57Applying mulch 58Vegetables and flowers 59Trees and shrubs 62Non-organic mulches 62 7. Living mulches 63Self-mulching plants 64Mulch materials 65Garden and household collectables 65Outside collectables or purchases 66Mulch as habitat for pests 67Mulch materials list 68Chapter 8 Planning your waterwise garden 83Your aims 83Resources 84Finances 84Time 84Attitude 85Labour and equipment 85Site assessment 85Site plan 85Your garden climate 87Topography: drainage 91Existing plants 92Impediments and assets 92Site assessment plan 93Design 95Activity areas and linkages 95Dry zones and wet zones 95Fire buffer zones 97Examples of wet/dry zone fire-retardant designs 97Model kitchen garden 99Garden water recycling 101The master plan 102Chapter 9 Plants 105Your prize plants 105Survival plants 105Australian plants 106Plants of the world 107Chapter 10 Help with plant selection 109Your local water authority 110Your local indigenous nursery 110Your local botanic garden 110Public parks and specialist gardens 111Societies for growing Australian plants 111On-line 112Chapter 11 What to do during a drought 113Essentials 113Develop a routine 114Start the waterwise design process 114Select construction projects 114Determine not to forget 114Look after the animals 115Contents vii 8. viii Waterwise House & GardenThings to try 115Using pots to advantage 116Golden rules for the waterwise gardener 116Chapter 12 The future 119Black water perspective 119Grey water 120Attitudes 120Public health 121Damage to the environment 122Technology 122Stormwater 124Desalinisation 124Appendix 1 The importance of water to plants 125The whole plant 125The healthy plant 125The stressed plant 125Soil 126Roots 127Stem 128Leaves 128Flowers and fruit 129Plant cells 129Plant strategies to overcome dry conditions 130Roots 130Stem 131Leaves 132Overall plant strategies 133Appendix 2 Australian plants tolerating very dry conditions 135Appendix 3 Exotic drought-tolerant plants 145Appendix 4 Fire-retardant species 161Appendix 5 Drain stranglers and cloggers 163Appendix 6 Wastewater reuse EPA guidelines 165Appendix 7 Water audit 167Indoor usage 167Outdoor usage 172Appendix 8 Publications 181Australian natives 181Waterwise garden books 181Herbs 182Earthworms 182Water reuse 182General 183About the author 185 9. AcknowledgementsA book such as this could not be written without the help of experts in the field of effi-cientwater use.My thanks to the following specialists with the various water authorities for givingme their time, access to information and comments on the text of this book: Bruce Rhodes and the staff at Melbourne Water Des Horton and his associates at City West Water, Elio Comello of the HabitatTrust and the staff of Basaltica demonstration garden Keith Johnson at South East Water Barry Jepperson of Brisbane City Council.I am grateful to the Urban Water Research Association of Australia for allowing thepublication of information and diagrams on domestic grey water reuse.Thanks also to Polymaster water-tank manufacturers for information andphotographs of water tanks.My gratitude goes as well to staff of Australias various botanic gardens for helpwith waterwise plant information. In particular, the staff of the Royal MelbourneBotanic Garden for allowing me to photograph the dry and arid garden sections.I also wish to express my appreciation to Dr Simon Toze and Bradley Patterson atCSIRO Land and Water for access to their research into water reuse in South Australiaand Western Australia. Finally, I would like to thank Ted Hamilton of CSIROPublishing for his help and advice in seeing this work through to completion.The help of all these experts made my path easier.Allan Windust 10. This page intentionally left blank 11. Chapter 1IntroductionWaterwise sense is a combination of common sense and common scienceThis book will show you how to cut your water bills by half or more, and have thegarden you want with the water usage you can afford. This is based on a better under-standingof water economies, soils, plants, climate and the resources available on yourproperty and elsewhere.This book covers all aspects of dry-weather gardening and household water usage,and emphasises understanding the forces of nature, sensible design, plant selection andmanagement.Since I wrote Drought Garden in 1994 the influence of climate change on ourweather patterns has become more apparent. The action of excess carbon dioxide inour atmosphere is now recognised by most scientists involved in the study of theworlds weather as the cause of climate change. There is more carbon dioxide in the airthan there has been for 400 000 years. The greenhouse effect will remain with us f