Small Garden Ideas: How to harness house hold water for the garden

Rain water is not the only resource that can be used to water your garden during short water supply. Why not harness the household water that leaves your home as wasted water. Did you know that the average family of 4 uses between 300lt and 350lt of water per day and almost 90% of that water simply leaves the home as wasted water!

Don’t let the water leave because it is re-usable as grey water and perfect to water gardens, wash cars, driveways and flush toilets. Grey water is defined as water from the shower, baths, hand basins and washing machine water. We generate grey water everyday in our homes. This grey water can be harvested using a JoJo tanks grey water harvesting system and reused for non-potable water purposes. Through doing this, you will save money in the long term, as you would no longer need to use expensive municipal drinking water to water the garden or wash the car.  With the looming rise in the price of water and shortages of water that’s good news for all South Africans. You will also reduce your carbon footprint and create a greener home. 

The simplest grey water system consists of gravity feeding water to an underground sump (a 50lt JoJo drum placed in an enclosure with an inspection cover) where it passes through a macro filter to remove hair fluff and lint. The water is then immediately pumped or drip-irrigated into the garden. With this system, the grey water must be utilized within 24 hours. If stored for longer, it changes into black water, develops an offensive odor and becomes foul. These simple systems are cheap, cost effective and relatively maintenance free.

A more sophisticated system can be designed and installed, which allows the grey water to be stored. This system requires the grey water to be treated and treatment is normally a combination of anaerobic, aerobic and disinfection stages. A specialist installer is required for this option. Just a word of caution grey water is not to be confused with black water. Black water is generated from toilets, kitchen/scullery sinks or the dishwasher. It is more difficult and complex to recycle or reuse.