Article from United Utilities website and written by United Utilities
The North West is home to more than 1,300 allotments and communal gardens, where residents grow a wealth of their own produce, from carrots to cucumbers, parsnips to potatoes. A lot of time and effort goes into these endeavours, not to mention a lot of water, so United Utilities is helping out through a range of rainwater harvesting schemes.
The first pilot project was completed this spring at Brighton Grove Allotments in Rusholme, which is owned by Manchester City Council and offers 47 plots. United Utilities, in partnership with Morrison Water Services, fitted 23 water butts – 21 x 1,000 litre tanks, and two 6,000 litre communal tanks. These have taps to make it easier to get the water out, allowing allotment holders to fill up their watering cans without relying on a regular mains supply.
A further two projects will soon begin at Birkdale Allotments in Southport, which is run by Sefton Council and is one of the region’s largest water-consuming allotments, and at Cleavley Community Forest Garden in Eccles.
Emma McCabe, Water Efficiency Manager at United Utilities, said: “Our water re-use trials for allotments and community gardens are part of our commitment to creating more awareness of water efficiency and demonstrating how we can all play our part. It’s fantastic to see the allotment holders in Rusholme get on board with the rainwater harvesting – it’s been particularly important during the recent dry weather by ensuring they already have water stored and help to use less mains water during this dry period.”
Kate Shaw, Chair of Brighton Grove Allotment Association, commented: “We’ve been trying to promote water collection here for a few years, and now, with the water butts in place, we’re hoping to rely significantly less on mains water. Rain water is better for vegetable crops and using as much as we can, will also save on bills. There are over 90 people who garden on this site, and with us all doing our bit to use water wisely and making the most of the water butts, we can support the environment and still grow plenty of delicious crops.”
Andy Marshall, Business Strategy Manager at Morrison Water Services, said: “It has been great working with United Utilities and Brighton Grove Allotment Association to install rainwater harvesting devices. Any way in which we can reduce demand on potable water is a positive while engaging with local communities. It’s a great initiative for Morrison Water Services to be involved in.”
Emma added: “Growing your own fruit and vegetables is a fantastic way to save money and eat well, and we want to help the region’s green-fingered gardeners do so in a way that is also efficient with water use. As we enter National Allotments Week, it’s a great opportunity to showcase how to boost water efficiency, not just in allotments and communal gardens, but in our home, vegetable patches and window herb gardens too. Our plentiful supply of rainwater is ideal for gardens and allotments, and with a water butt it is easy to collect and store. This helps reduce the use of drinking water and can also save money. Our first project in Manchester is proving to be a great help to the growers, and we’re hoping the schemes in Sefton and Eccles will be just as successful. After that, we hope to roll out other offers to allotments and community gardens across the region.”
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