It makes sense to save rainwater with a water butt, providing your plants with lots of water whenever they need it. This will help you beat the hosepipe bans and drought orders that have become common during the summer months.
Butts are really easy to attach to your house, shed, garage or any other garden building that has a gutter and a down pipe. And if a building such as greenhouse doesn’t have any, then consider having them fitted – you could save many litres of water. It is estimated that around 24,000 litres can be saved from the average house roof every year.
An alternative to a water butt is a rainwater harvesting system. They look like water butts, but are more expensive due to a powerful filter that cleans the water and have an internal pump in the tank which can drive water powerfully through a hose. Below ground tanks can also be installed, which have a bigger storage capacity.
Choosing your butt
Water butts are available in lots of shapes and sizes, and can hold between 100 and 700 litres of water. They generally look like barrels, but some are more streamlined for fitting in tight spaces. The most useful ones have a tap for filling watering cans easily. Many come with stands so the tap is at the right height to fit a watering can underneath
How to fit a water butt
There are two ways to fit a water butt. The easiest way is to sever a plastic down pipe with a hacksaw and place the butt directly underneath it – an overflow pipe can be attached to the butt to channel away excess water to a drain or into another butt. Alternatively, cut a notch out of the pipe and fit a rain trap and connecting pipe – this will transport water to your butt and allows you to put it in the most convenient place.
Caring for your water butt
Keep your water butt well covered to prevent debris falling in or algae, slime or scum from forming - If it appears try adding a few drops of a biological rainwater treatment which should keep it clean for up to five months.