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The benefits of a water butt – a simple way to save a lot of water

Our population is growing fast, and climate change – causing heatwaves and extreme drought – is predicted to get worse. All these things put pressure on our water supplies, and it’s predicted we’ll need around an extra 1.1 billion litres of water a day by 2040 just to keep up with demand.

Our population is growing fast, and climate change – causing heatwaves and extreme drought – is predicted to get worse. All these things put pressure on our water supplies, and it’s predicted we’ll need around an extra 1.1 billion litres of water a day by 2040 just to keep up with demand.

Small changes make a lot of difference

Fortunately, saving water is easy, and there are lots of small, simple changes we can make to our daily routines that, collectively, make a big difference.

One area where we tend to use more water than anywhere else is the garden, especially during the warmer spring and summer months. Did you know that hoses and sprinklers typically use about 1000 litres of water an hour? That’s more than 12 baths!

Get your water butt ready for spring

A simple and very effective way of reducing the amount of water you use in the garden is by installing a water butt. Water butts are plastic containers that are typically connected to the guttering, which collects rainwater from your rooftop.

Standard garden water butts can hold up to 200 litres of rainwater at a time, which can then be used to water plant pots and flowerbeds. Not only is it free water, it’s great for your plants as it’s rich in nutrients. In addition, a significant amount of energy and treatment are used to provide water to our homes, so using stored rainwater will also help to lower your household’s carbon emissions.

The benefits of buying a water butt

  • Water butts are easy to set up and can be put together with minimal DIY skills and a few basic tools.
  • They’re suitable for nearly all gardens – there are no significant requirements other than a level surface to place the water butt onto, and a downpipe from your roof that a connector can be fitted to running from the water butt.
  • You’ll have a ready supply of water for all your gardening needs, even if there’s a hosepipe ban in place due to summer drought.
  • A butt will make savings to your water bills if you’re on a meter.
  • They’re eco-friendly as they make use of rainwater that would normally go along your gutters, down your drainpipes and into your drain.
  • Plants and vegetables like water in a butt being at a similar temperature as the surrounding environment when they’re growing- tap water is often much cooler.
  • If you don’t have an outside tap in your garden, then installing a water butt makes a lot of sense – it certainly gets rid of the hassle of going into your kitchen or bathroom to fill a watering can, every time your plants need a drink.

Picking the right water butt for you  

If you’re thinking about buying a water butt, there’s plenty of choice available to suit all types of outside areas – from big gardens to small courtyards. Water butts range in size, from small, slimline units with a 100 litre capacity, all the way up to giant size barrels that can hold up to 500 litres of water. There’s a butt to suit everyone!

Whatever the size of your water butt, you’ll find it easier to access the saved rainwater if it has a tap at the base and sits on a stand so you can put a watering can underneath to fill it up. If ground space is limited, you can also choose a wall-mounted version.

Slow drain collects more rain

If you get a lot of surface water collecting around your property after heavy rainfall, you might want to consider installing a slow-drain water butt. These water butts have a drain installed halfway up, allowing the top half to slowly drain into the network over several hours. This way around 100 litres is left empty for the next time it rains. This also has really beneficial effects on reducing water run-off and decreasing the pressure on storm sewers, as our pilot scheme on the Isle of Wight showed recently.

Water butts at the ready

There are so many benefits to installing a water butt in your garden, whether that’s next to a downpipe on your house, or sitting at the side of your garage, shed or greenhouse. In fact, these versatile containers are good to go anywhere that has a gutter to collect rainwater.

So, visit your nearest DIY store, get your water butt ready, and start taking advantage of those spring showers!