Did you know, on average, an Australian consumes 340 litres of water per day? This translates to 900 litres of water per household daily.
In the wake of recent climate events, there is an obvious need to examine individual water usage and reduce consumption.
Water-saving begins with auditing usage in the home. Here, we identify the biggest water consumers in a household and possible water-saving opportunities.
Water usage studies show that 50% of the water in Australian homes ends up in residential gardens.
With increasing calls for water conversation from climate action groups; everybody needs to take responsibility.
As a landlord, you can start by auditing water usage on the properties you own.
There are several factors to inspire your decisions to save water:
- Climate change and the effects of drought in Australia
- Water usage restrictions by state authorities
- An increase in water bills
Water-saving strategies should not result in a wilted and brown landscape. You must be clever about it.
Water-saving responsibilities on a garden fall on both you and your tenant. You need to work together to save water and keep the landscape lush.
Water-Saving Tips for Landlords
Your responsibility depends more on long-term decisions. For example, the plants you choose and the watering system you install.
1. Select the Right Grass
Start saving water by selecting the appropriate grass for your environment and climate.
Prioritise local and native grass. It needs little to no watering and maintenance. The grass will attract native birds and insects, creating an ecological balance.
In dry regions, invest in drought-resistant grass. It will survive through the dry seasons. The grass can thrive with no water without affecting the aesthetic appeal of your landscape.
2. Invest in Ground Cover
Invest in ground cover and native plants for your property.
You can replace the lawn with native ground cover, which helps save water.
The right crops for your region can help cover bare soil, reducing water usage and water loss.
Avoid the temptation to use decorative rocks as ground cover. They offer a temporary solution. Over time, the rocks will look drab and dusty. They are notorious for harbouring seeds and creating a messy expanse of weeds.
In place of rocks, use weed cloth covered by organic mulch. This reduces water evaporation from the soil and prevents weed growth.
3. Implement Xeriscaping
Xeriscaping – A landscaping or gardening system designed to reduce or eliminate the need for supplemental water from irrigation.
Xeriscaping allows you to enjoy a beautiful garden all year round with little water. In a successful model, your garden should thrive without any irrigation.
Successful xeriscaping depends on:
- Meticulous planning and design
- Soil improvement strategies
- Creating a practical turf area
- Efficient irrigation systems
- Proper mulching
- Investing in native and low-water-use plants
- Proper year-long maintenance
4. Install a Drip-Watering System
With a drip-watering system, each plant receives water directly into the rootball.
With a smart system, you can set the water distribution to match each plant’s needs. Plants with a high water intake will receive the right amount. It also prevents you from over watering plants with low water intake.
A smart system will also come with a timer you can set to run at specific time intervals. It will also have a remote control function you can use to control water usage.
Some systems will even have a rain sensor to turn off the water during the rainy season. This prevents wastage of water when it rains.
5. Upgrade the Sprinkler System
Inspect your sprinkler systems and upgrade any outdated systems responsible for wastage.
Invest in sprinklers with a timer and rain sensor to prevent overwatering.
During the inspection, watch out for leaks or broken parts. Fix or replace them immediately.
In the installation, make sure all the water from the sprinklers falls on the lawn or garden. Avoid wasting water on curbs or driveways.
Water-Saving Tips for Tenants
Tenants should take on the day-to-day water-saving strategies.
For this to succeed, you need to talk to your tenants. Help them understand the importance of saving water and their role in it.
You can encourage water-saving habits by helping them understand the cost of gardening on the water bill.
In cases of blatant abuse, you can transfer the extra water bill fees to the tenants.
6. Water Grass Deeply
Encourage deep watering once or twice a week.
Shallow watering encourages shallow roots. This makes the grass more susceptible to adverse weather conditions.
Deep watering moistens the soil to a depth of 15 to 30 centimeters. This encourages the grass to grow deep roots, which makes the grass more resistant to drought. The grass can survive on water from the soil even without regular watering in dry seasons.
Increase your cashflow by self-managing your property.
7. Watch the Height of the Grass
Keep at least one-third of the lawn’s height at each mowing.
After the mowing, leave the cut grass to decompose and add nutrients to the soil. The cut grass will also act as mulch, reducing moisture loss from the grass.
8. Weed Out the Lawn
Weeds compete with your plants and grass for nutrients and moisture.
Removing weeds ensures there is enough moisture for your grass and plants.
Rake and remove debris around trees and shrubs before adding mulch. This prevents weed growth.
9. Use Compost on the Garden
If your tenant decides to have a vegetable garden (with your consent), encourage them to:
- Dig about 10 centimeters deep and add compost to the hole. This improves the quality of the soil and its ability to hold water.
- Install a drip irrigation system or soaker hoses to avoid wasteful watering.
As a landlord, you have two options:
1. You can upgrade your property and add water-saving measures.
2. Completely renovate the property to make it water-efficient, especially with the landscaping.
Once you decide to embrace water-saving techniques, you must onboard your tenants. Encourage them to consider their water usage while taking care of the garden or lawn.
To enforce water-saving rules, you must have a water-usage guideline. For example, if you want to pass on the water bill tenants, you must include it in your lease agreement.
A Water-Usage Policy
Creating a water policy takes time.
You need to consider both state and national laws. Your water policy should also consider the tenants’ limitations.
While adding such a policy to your lease agreement, you must ensure you keep the legality of the document.
With Lodge, you can now customise your lease document without compromising its legal integrity.
Lodge offers a digital lease preparation and signing tool to help you sign up tenants.
With the tool, you can:
- Prepare legally binding lease agreements.
- Share the documents with prospective tenants instantly.
- Sign the document digitally (both you and the tenant).
- Store the document online for easy access should either of you need it.
- Customise the document to include your water policy.
Saving water requires participation from your tenants. You can start setting the expectations today by preparing a water policy on Lodge.
Sign up here today and access the digital lease function for only $19.99 a month.