Forest fires, sinking water levels, crop damage – and all of that in early June. It is too dry in large parts of northern Germany. And it’s not likely to get any better: The German weather service warns of excessively high temperatures and insufficient rain for this summer. The precipitation in winter and spring was not sufficient to increase the groundwater levels in the long term.
In Schleswig-Holstein, the soil in some places is already as dry as it was in midsummer. In Lower Saxony, the district of Nienburg restricts the watering of gardens and agricultural areas at temperatures above 24 degrees. The district of Celle calls on citizens not to blow up their lawns if possible. Because: A lawn sprinkler with around 800 liters per hour uses as much as a person in a whole week. And in the metropolis of Hamburg, too, the environmental authority is now calling for careful use of drinking water.
What does this mean for us? And: What can each and every individual do in everyday life to save water? Monika Niedzielski talks about this live on NDR Info on Wednesday, June 14 from 5.10 p.m with the following guests:
Gardener in the Kiekeberg Museum Garden
You will then find the video live stream here on this page and on the home page of >.
Saving water in the bathroom is easy
The good news is: Everyone can save water without much effort – and at the same time protect their own wallet. There are many ways to do this in the home. Taking a shower instead of a bath saves a lot: 150 liters are needed for a full bath, and just 50 liters for a five-minute shower. Newer toilets almost always have an economy flush button for the “small business“, water outlets in the bathroom and in the kitchen can be retrofitted with flow limiters that ensure that significantly less water flows through. This saves both water and energy, as hot water accounts for a large part of consumption. The installation is easy, the relevant parts only cost a few euros.
Use the cooking water for pouring
In addition, you should turn off the water when brushing your teeth and washing your hands and only turn on the washing machine and dishwasher when they are full. There is also potential for savings in the kitchen. The water used to wash fruit or vegetables can be collected and used to water flowers. The same applies to cooking water after it has cooled. It even contains an extra portion of nutrients for house and balcony plants.
Collect rainwater to water plants
If you own a garden, you can also significantly reduce the consumption of valuable drinking water there by using rainwater for irrigation: for example by installing rain barrels or by creating sunken water tanks that collect the water that runs down the gutter from roofs or sheds , catch.
Low-lime, stagnant water is often better suited for indoor plants than fresh water from the tap. Incidentally, in winter you automatically reduce your own water consumption: During the rest phase, indoor plants need to be watered much less frequently. Once a week is usually sufficient.
Chopping and mulching protects against dehydration
With a few tricks, hobby gardeners can also ensure that plants need less water:
- beds or pots Mulching with lawn clippings prevents evaporation and significantly reduces the water requirements of the plants. A positive side effect: mulching also ensures natural fertilization.
- Hoe the soil regularly, this also avoids evaporation because the soil is better at retaining moisture.
- Bury clay pots in the ground next to the plants and fill them with water regularly. It then slowly seeps into the ground and optimally reaches the roots.
- Do not pour or water in the midday heat, as the water then evaporates directly.
As a result of climate change, it can be expected that drought summers will become more frequent in northern Germany in the future. It can therefore make sense to plant drought-resistant plants in your garden redesigned to use less water for irrigation.
Save water indirectly when shopping
Water can also be saved indirectly: by rethinking when shopping. Because we not only use water directly, but also indirectly by buying clothes, food and other goods that require a lot of water to produce. This indirect water consumption is many times higher than the average, daily, direct per capita consumption of around 130 liters in Germany: namely around 4,000 to 5,000 liters per capita and day. A single cotton T-shirt, for example, contains around 2,000 liters of water. So if you buy less clothing or go shopping in second-hand shops more often, you save large amounts of indirect water.
The same applies to food: the production of one kilogram of beef can require up to 15,000 liters of water. Here, however, the differences are large, depending on the production conditions and origin of the feed. Vegetables and fruit from intensive irrigation management – such as strawberries from southern European polytunnels or avocados – also need a lot of water to grow.
When shopping, you can indirectly save a lot of water if you buy meat less often and buy regional and seasonal products more often when it comes to fruit and vegetables.