plonkee money an english-er's thoughts on personal finance

July 16, 2008

why you shouldn’t be tempted to run the sprinkler this summer

Filed under: frugal — Tags: , , , , , — plonkee @ 8:50 am

If you’re a lucky, lucky person and you’re in the northern hemisphere then it’s not only the middle of summer, it’s also pretty hot. Out in the garden, people with grassy green lawns need to keep them well-watered if they want to maintain their looks, lots of plants appreciate a good drenching with the hose, and kids (big and small) like nothing better than cooling down in a whole heap of water.

Slight technical hitch is that this could work out pretty expensive. In locations where water is most wanted in the summer – hot, dry, dusty places – it’s also scarce. If you have a water meter fitted (as I do), then you are literally paying more for every single additional drop, and anything that uses a lot of water, is going to cost you more. From BWH Water:

We require customers using sprinklers or with swimming pools to have a meter. Garden sprinklers can use as much water in an hour as a family of four does in two days.

This is a fairly typical restriction. So, run your sprinkler overnight for 8 hours twice a week over the hottest summer months and you’ll be adding in the region of an extra 50% onto your annual water bill. Now, I do like a nice green lawn myself, but the thing is, it’ll grow back green again in the autumn – and lets not forget that if you live in an area with water supply issues then if people keep using hosepipes and sprinklers, there’s a good chance of severe water shortages. Which will work out expensive in the long run.

In the short-term, get a watering can for the garden, let the kids have a bucket of water and some sponges to play with and let the grass grow brown. If you want to make things better in the long term use plants in your garden which are adapted for drought, consider a smaller lawn, and promise the kids a trip to the nearest beach or lake for their water fun.

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