‘Water’ great boost for our community gardening

Community gardeners around Mid and East Antrim welcomed a delivery of waterbutts courtesy of NI Water.

Thursday, 7th October 2021, 9:10 am

A waterbutt is used to collect and store rain water runoff, typically from rooftops via pipes.

Mayor of Mid and East Antrim, Cllr William McCaughey, said: “Community gardens are a fantastic way in which to demonstrate sustainability. Around 640 litres of water can be collected each year from a 7ft x 5ft shed roof - that’s enough to keep 50 tomato plants healthy for up to three months. I hope these waterbutts will enable residents to harvest rainwater, water crops more sustainably and to save water, especially in the warmer summer months.

“We do get plenty of rain in Northern Ireland but rainwater has to be cleaned at treatment works before it goes into the taps. Less than one per cent of all the water on Earth can be used by people. The rest is salt water or is permanently frozen and we can’t drink it, wash with it, or use it to water plants. As our population grows, more and more people are using up this limited resource. Therefore, it is important that we all use our water wisely and not waste it. We all have a part to play to ensure there is enough water for everyone now and in the future.

Mayor Cllr William McGaughey welcomes the donation of waterbutts from NI Water. Included are Anna Killen, NI Water Outreach & Learning Officer, Marlene Gattineau, Assistant Growing Communities Officer, Suzy Orr and Anne Magill, Cithrah Foundation

“Waterbutts also support recycling efforts as they are made from recycled plastic. Other ways to garden sustainably include making your own compost from green waste and reducing or eliminating herbicide and pesticide use in Community Gardens and on allotment plots.”

Pat McCauley, Education Officer, NI Water, said: “NI Water are delighted to support Mid & East Antrim Borough Council by donating waterbutts as part of their community garden project. Waterbutts are a great way to harvest rainwater, which can then be used to water plants, shrubs and trees. As we seek to add a little colour to our gardens and hanging baskets, we don’t need to increase our water usage to keeping our gardens blooming, remember when watering plants, always use a watering can instead of a garden hose.

“Why not ‘get water fit’ and try our new online water audit at https://www.getwaterfit.co.uk to see just how water wise you are and receive free water saving items such as 4 minute shower timers, leaky loo strips and toothy timers for the little ones.”

There are a range of community gardens and volunteer groups across the borough, get in touch with [email protected] who can direct you to your nearest garden and/or group.