This National Allotments Week (7th to 13th August) United Utilities is helping growers save water and boost their crops thanks to water butts that have been installed over the past few months.
As part of a pilot project the water company has provided 55 water butts to two community allotment projects since last summer, which have been filling up nicely with the recent rain. With 79,000 litres of capacity installed at allotments in Sefton and Greater Manchester, growers could be using the equivalent of around 237,000 cups of tea of rainwater instead of potable water.
Rose Francis, Marketing and Campaigns Manager at United Utilities, said: “We’re delighted that our allotment pilot scheme is helping growers make the most of precious water resources. The recent wet weather means the water butts have been filling up nicely so growers now have a plentiful store of rainwater and can use less mains water over the coming weeks.
“Everyone can save water and money in their garden by making small changes – water butts are ideal, or even collecting a bit of rainwater in buckets and watering cans will help.”
The first project was at Brighton Grove Allotments in Rusholme, where two large communal water storage units and 21 smaller ones were installed. In total, they can hold 46,000 litres of rainwater.
Kate Shaw, Chair of Brighton Grove Allotment Association, said: “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.”
The second scheme was at Birkdale Allotments in Sefton, where two large communal water storage units as well as 30 smaller ones have been installed. In total, they can hold 33,000 litres of rainwater.
Ian Singleton, Chair of Birkdale Allotments Society, said: “The belief in us and our journey in bringing the community together, including through our food bank, mental health and youth plots, is fantastic. The United Utilities investment is very worthwhile, much needed, and hugely appreciated by everybody.
The next site to benefit from the pilot project will be Peel Allotments in Ramsbottom. There, 25 water butts will be installed, which will be able to hold 25,000 litres of rainwater.