Firstly, why is it important to conserve water?
Conserving water is important for several reasons, including:
Environmental sustainability: Water is a finite resource, and conserving it is crucial for maintaining healthy ecosystems and preserving biodiversity. Water is also a vital resource for many species, and conservation efforts can help protect their habitats and ensure their survival.
Economic benefits: Conserving water can help reduce the demand for costly infrastructure projects, such as new dams and reservoirs. It can also help lower water bills for households and businesses, as well as reduce the costs of treating and delivering water.
Energy savings: The process of treating and delivering water requires a significant amount of energy. By conserving water, we can reduce the energy needed to pump, treat, and distribute water, which can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions and save energy.
Water scarcity: Many regions around the world are facing water scarcity, and conservation efforts can help reduce the demand for water and extend the available supply. In addition, conserving water can help prevent water shortages during periods of drought or other emergencies.
Overall, conserving water is essential for ensuring a sustainable future for our planet and its inhabitants. It is an individual and collective responsibility to use water wisely and efficiently, and to reduce our impact on the environment.
How can we as gardeners help with water conservation?
Rainwater harvesting: Collect rainwater from rooftops, gutters, and other surfaces and store it in a rain barrel or underground cistern for later use in watering plants and gardens.
Greywater reuse: Use water from sinks, showers, and washing machines to flush toilets or water outdoor plants. Rather than throwing water from a reusable water bottle in the sink, water your indoor plants!
Xeriscaping: Use native plants and other drought-resistant landscaping techniques to minimize water usage in landscaping.
Mulching: Apply a layer of mulch to garden beds and around trees to help retain moisture in the soil.
Drip irrigation: Use a drip irrigation system to deliver water directly to plant roots, reducing water waste due to evaporation and runoff.
Water-efficient appliances: Install water-efficient appliances like low-flow showerheads, toilets, and washing machines to reduce water usage in the home.
Plant selection: Choose plants that are adapted to your climate and require less water.
Soil improvement: Add organic matter to your soil to improve its water-holding capacity and reduce the need for watering.
Water-free cleaning: Use dry cleaning techniques like sweeping or vacuuming instead of washing surfaces with water.
Fixing leaks: Fix leaks in faucets and pipes to prevent water waste.
Drought Tolerant Plants for Southwestern Ontario
Although we always recommend native plant species, these plants do really well in drought conditions in Southwestern Ontario:
Black-eyed Susan (Rudbeckia hirta)
Butterfly weed (Asclepias tuberosa)
Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia)
Sedum (Sedum spp.)
Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum)
Yarrow (Achillea millefolium)
Zinnia (Zinnia elegans)
It's important to note that even drought-tolerant plants require adequate water during the first year or two of growth, as they establish their root systems. Once established, these plants can typically withstand dry conditions better than other plants. Additionally, it's important to choose plants that are appropriate for the specific growing conditions in your area, such as soil type, sunlight exposure, and climate.