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Web tool helps gardeners save water

G-Online

Garden

watering the garden

Credit: iStockphoto

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The National Water Commission has launched a new web tool that will help Sydney residents use water wisely and save money.

Households could use the WaterRight Gardens web tool to calculate how much water their individual gardens need, said National Water Commission chief executive, Ken Matthews.

"For the first time, Sydney residents will have access to an online resource that can tell them how often and how much to water, as well as when to stop," Matthews said.

The tool is postcode specific and gives different watering advice for each local area for different seasons.

Research by environmental consultants, URS, has found that most residential landscapes in Sydney are over-watered by 30 to 60 per cent.

Matthews said the tool would show people how to maintain a healthy garden while avoiding wasteful and unnecessary watering.

Details about the size of a garden, the type of soil and the variety of plants in each region of the yard can be entered into the web form. It then generates the best method of watering, (eg. hose or watering can) and specifies how long the garden should be watered for.

The web tool also tailors advice according to the type of lawn required, whether it's a no fuss lawn or a manicured bowling green.

The National Water Commission estimates that outdoor use makes up about 40 per cent of all residential water consumption in most Australian cities and towns, highlighting the potential of the tool to help the environment and the hip pocket.

Smart Approved WaterMark's chief executive Julian Gray said the tool is a great way for people to be educated about how much they really need to use and that there is the potential to cut total water usage by 10 per cent.

"The only issue is keen gardeners will probably get most benefit from it because takes time to fill out the form and you need to know a fair bit about your garden," Gray pointed out.

Water restrictions apply throughout Australia with Sydney currently on level three; where hand-held hosing is limited and sprinklers are not to be used at any time.

WaterRight Gardens has only been developed for Sydney residents at present, but Canberra, Brisbane and Melbourne will have the tool next year.