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Collecting Rain From a Water Butt for Garden Use

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Water can be a scarce and costly resource in the heat of summer. If you're lucky enough to have a lovely garden during hot and sunny weather, installing a water butt is a clever way to make the most of the water you've already got.

How Does a Water Butt Work?

On average, thousands of litres of rainwater fall on the roofs of UK homes every year. Water butts collect this rainwater for use in your garden. They're connected to a downpipe from your guttering; so that each time it rains the tank will fill up, safely being for a sunny day.

Such water is ideal for watering plants, washing driveways and vehicles, cleaning lawnmowers, and operating home appliances like toilets, washing machines and dishwashers.

The Benefits of Having a Water Butt:

  • Money Saving:

During hot and dry weather, outdoor water use accounts for up to 50% of an average household's consumption. If you like to keep your garden filled with lush plants, investing in a water butt could significantly reduce your water bills for years to come.

  • Your Plants Prefer Rainwater:

Rainwater is Ph-balanced and free of the chemicals in treated water, like chlorine.

  • Reduce Your Carbon Footprint:

Using less tap water decreases the energy costs associated with treating and pumping water to your home.

  • Conserve Valuable Tap Water:

Reducing our reliance on tap water is also likely to reduce drought orders, water restrictions and hosepipe bans.

Luckily, installing a water butt is easier than you might think.

Installing a Water Butt:

  • Choose a downpipe from the roof for the container to sit beneath. This should be on level ground, and near the main places you'll use it. It should be raised enough for the various smaller containers you'll need to fit underneath.
  • Ensure the butt is safely on its stand and then mark the downpipe at the height of the water butt. Using a hacksaw, cut the downpipe around 3cm lower than the mark.
  • Fit the rain diverter to the downpipe so that the cut section of it slots onto the base of the diverter.
  • Attach the connector from the butt with secure screws and fittings.
  • Finally, place the lid firmly on top so that it locks into place, this ensures your water butt doesn't have unwanted visitors such as insects, leaves, and small animals.

Make The Most of Your Rainwater:

Once the butt is in place, a butt pump is a useful alternative to a mains tap for quenching the thirst of plants. You can also buy connectors that allow multiple containers to be linked - particularly useful if you've got a large garden space.

Try watering plants at night to ensure water is not lost through evaporation on a warm and sunny day. Watering plants and shrubs too often can make their roots shallow and weak, so leave them alone until they appear to need moisture.

Regular weeding ensures that you don't waste water by feeding unwanted garden visitors. Young plants and seedlings should be prioritised above their more hardy siblings that can survive for longer periods without moisture.


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