Written by Heather Garrett
We are blessed with a warm wet oceanic climate here in Tywyn but its still good to be mindful of our water consumption.
Most of our drinking water is abstracted from the Afon Fathew which is a small river that flows in a southwesterly direction from Dolgoch falls before joining the River Dysynni to the east of Tywyn near Bryncrug. It’s a moderately clean river but it still requires a lot of energy to make it suitable for us to drink from it.
So water consumption isn’t just a concern about the impact of abstraction on our river wildlife but also about our carbon footprint.
I grow salads and tomatoes in our polytunnel and watering the plants is a time consuming job which has also made me aware of the amount of water required.
After reading Gardening with Less Water, I decided to try using a passive irrigation system that does not require a pump but delivers the water closer to where it is needed i.e. the roots. I bought a terracotta pot from a charity shop for £3 and I’ve up-cycled it into an “olla”.
The pot is buried in the soil & filled with water. The clay pot is porous so water gradually leaks into the surrounding soils where it is taken up by the roots of nearby plants.
I’ve planted it up with some rather weedy salads that I’ve been overwintering but I’ll be keeping a close eye on my experiment to see whether it reduces my water consumption.
Want to know more?
On-line instructions for making an olla from terracotta clay flower pots: Make Your Own Ollas.
Source: Gardening with less water. Low tech, lost cost techniques. Use 90% less water in your garden. David. A. Bainbridge. Pub. Storey. £11.00. Available from: Green Shopping or maybe ask the library to get a copy?
Want to know about the quality of the water in your local river? Select the river catchment layer & check the classification map on Water Watch Wales (The scale is Bad, Poor, Moderate, Good, High). Most rivers in Wales are on the Moderate / Good boundary.