Water, Water, Everywhere

Why Water is Integral to the Planet’s Health

Water is vital to the success of gardens as well as the continuation of all life on the planet. Nothing grows without water. Nothing thrives without water. Living organisms require adequate water that is of sufficient quantity and quality. As global resources dwindle, it’s important to acknowledge that careful use and reuse of water resources is critical to the overall state of the planet.

Fresh Water is Disappearing

School kids learn all about the water cycle in science class. The water cycle moves evaporated water from the oceans to the mountains. This water returns to oceans and lakes through streams and rivers. This cycle occurs over and over throughout the centuries. If the water cycle works, we will have access to unlimited fresh water. Right?

Unfortunately, the fresh water resources of the Earth have limits. Glaciers supply water from the highest mountains to areas with high population density, such as the Indian subcontinent. These are disappearing at increasing speed. Snowpack in the Rocky Mountains is increasingly variable from winter to winter. California’s snowpack this year is drastically reduced.

Well, Well, Well

Lake Griffy in Autumn

Aquifers are a body of permeable rock which contain and transmit groundwater. They are often connected to subsurface water flows and affect the water table. Human beings use water resources faster than they can be replenished, like what is happening to the Ogallala Aquifer.

Indiana draws much of its municipal water supply from surface water storage areas built during the 1950s. These lakes have been silting in since their creation. Griffy Lake, a previous water supply for the city of Bloomington, covers about 109 acres, but the majority of the lake is only a few feet deep. Without dredging, Griffy Lake would fill in quickly. Many surface storage lakes are also of poor water quality, since gas-powered boats swarm over the lakes throughout the year.

Your Relationship to Water

Learn where your water comes from. Catch it in ponds, rain barrels, tanks, and natural swimming pools.

Because water is so important to thriving homes, try to have three emergency sources of water available. Soil that contains a high percentage of organic matter is a great water storer. Store water in rain gardens and ponds, or stash it away in rain barrels and cisterns. Wells and municipal water may be your primary source, but a cistern full of water can give you peace of mind.

Many dry towns in Western states forbid rain barrels or larger tanks, because the rainwater falling on your roof has already been promised to your downstream neighbors. States such as Colorado, for example, are beginning to realize that rain barrels and tanks positively impact the flow of water downstream. In fact, increased vegetative cover may improve the tight cycling of water in a particular area. It can create even more precipitation for your and your neighbors as plants transpire water into the atmosphere. Learn the rules in your area and work with your local and state officials. Educate them about your careful use of water, the power of creating storages, and the transformation of landscapes by the reuse of water.

Know how much water your household uses and learn what you can do to conserve water in your home and garden. Perform an audit of how much water your household uses. Some households use as much as 140 gallons of water per day for showers, dishes, laundry and more. The average household of four uses 400 gallons per day. Install low-flow shower heads, water-saving laundry machines, and low-flush toilets, and you will reduce the amount of water your household uses. You can help save the earth and pocket book at the same time. Minimize landscaping that needs irrigation in favor of plants that are adapted to drier conditions. With the Garden Tower 2™ design, early user Kathryn Sharp reported a 90 percent reduction in water usage while she growing veggies and composting with worms.

Types of Water

Not all water we use is the same. Water used in the household shower, laundry, dishwashing, or sink is considered gray water. Water used in conjunction with toilets is black water. Please take proper precautions!

Your garden plants do not need potable water to be happy. Minerals, fats, and bits of vegetable material can enhance gray water. Plants and other organisms in a gray water system use these additional materials well. However, be careful. Track gray water use in your Garden Tower® 2 vertical planting system so you don’t overwhelm the soil organisms and plants with compounds such as oils and soaps.

Reuse your water where you can by sending it through different parts of your home and garden. Water houseplants with your dishwater. The Garden Tower® 2 system also uses this kind of efficiency by reusing the water that drains through the tower. This increases productivity and preserves nutrient density. Compost, including wonderful worm castings, greatly enhance the water!

Imagine a Vibrant Garden

Taking responsibility for the quality of the water that leaves your garden is a great way to make a positive difference in the world. Start with conservation. Include reuse. Work to clean water through systems which mimic nature. These actions will help ensure our world is greener and brighter. Thank you!

Learn more about creating an oasis with grey water here.

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