Rain-water harvesting (RWH) is a great mandatory initiative by the Karnataka government. For basics of RWH, see http://kscst.org.in/rwh_files/rwh_basics.html. Due to urbanization and other reasons, we see a drastic reduction in ground water. We have a well at parents’ house, and during my younger days, this well would be filled with water during rainy seasons and have sufficient water during the other seasons. For decades together, we have consumed the well water (, which is sweet). However, now due to several borewells being dug, the water source has been affected; reduced but not dried. One way to recharge the well water is RWH. Hopefully, the well gets recharged.
At our present house, we have a borewell, and our initial plan was to recharge the borewell by RWH. However, because the distance from the downtake pipes to the borewell was substantial, we decided to have three wells (of 6-8ft deep) dug, and then the pipes be connected to each of the wells. Saves the rain water! Even if we wash the terraces, all the water goes to the wells through the downtake pipes. Waiting for the rainy season to further test the RWH method!
For our terrace garden, we use water from the borewell. I have a plastic tank or a household drum that can contain up to 80-100 ltrs of water. The water consumption varies with the seasons. During summer, the consumption is relatively more. I experimented with small changes in the garden. For all the plants, I used cocopeat to help retain water. For smaller plants, I put the used coffee/tea powder, which can hold water (and avoid slugs). I also rearranged plants so that they don't get excess heat and require more water. Plants that are under the shade of trees don’t require excess watering.
To use otherwise disposable water, I have started collecting the water used for washing rice, pulses, vegetables, and fruits in a bucket. This water is used for different set of plants every day (especially orchids). The rice-washed water is supposed to rejuvenate the soil. You can also collect the water used for rinsing dishes and clothes. Ensure that the water doesn't contain food remains or traces of chemical. If the day is extremely hot, I lightly sprinkle water on the terrace or on the plants. I usually water the plants during the early morning, from a bucket using a mug. Each plant container gets only the necessary amount of water.
When I expand my garden, I definitely want to try the drip irrigation methods. I have to ration water not because I cannot afford to spend but because I want to be a responsible citizen. I know that these steps are small but that's how a lake is formed - collecting drops of water.
What is your garden’s water source and how do you use it? Have you installed RWH or drip irrigation?
A few websites for your reference: