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Sustainable aesthetics keystone for water conservation

greywater irrigationWATER conservation is loudly supported throughout Australian society, but a study by researchers from CSIRO Ecosystem Sciences has shown aesthetics and good old-fashioned neighbourhood competition are shaping Perth resident’s views on sustainable domestic water use.

According to the study published in Landscape and Urban Planning in January, general community aesthetics and the notion of ‘outdoing the Joneses’ places a psychological pressure on homeowners, and influences them to adhere to particular aesthetic designs over more sustainable options.

Conducted in Butler, Southern River and Ellen-brook suburbs, the study analysed resident’s attitudes towards sustainable housing designs and the utilization of excess groundwater—which has varying degrees of turbidity, discolouration and can cause staining to surfaces—for non-potable household use.

Resident’s were questioned on replacing current European-style gardens with more sustainable native plants, and although respondents appreciated native species in public open spaces (POS), they preferred roses, citrus trees and lawns in private gardens.

Further interviews with residents found that Australian native plants were perceived as difficult to landscape, generally untidy and aesthetically displeasing.

Rain water tanks, solar and grey water systems were thought of as important design options by residents, but were not found to be as present in the household as other designs—such as water features and al fresco areas.

It’s fashionable to have a green attitude, but also fashionable to have pools, green lawns, paving, and patio” a participant of the study noted.

Source: Science WA

For many house hold across Cape Town one may only have to supplement a small amount of municipal water should one reuse greywater for irrigation. On average a typical household uses 35% of it’s water supply on gardening and 33% on washing. This wash water (water from baths, shower, and laundry) is safe to use on gardens.

If you could save up to 33% on your water bill though the hassle free practice of water conservation and greywater reuse, while still finding pleasure in your European-style garden, would this not off set the guilt of planing non-indigenous plants.

Please note that greywater should be used with caution with fynboss, as fynboss prefers nutrient scant conditions.


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