In the Clarence Valley up to 50% of the water use by households is on gardens. Water use on gardens is highest during the spring and summer months. Reducing water use in your garden can save you money, and also help the environment. Here are some practical ideas that might help you to save water in your garden. In planning your garden try to group plants with similar water and sun/shade requirements together. This allows you to water more effectively, and prevents over watering of some plants. Develop or convert your gardens into “waterwise” gardens by using hardy plants that need little or no water apart from natural rainfall. Many plants, both native and exotic are very hardy and need little care or watering once established. Your local nursery can provide advice on these plants. Mulch your garden. This greatly reduces evaporation and it has other benefits as well, such as reducing erosion, suppressing weeds, retaining nutrients, and encouraging healthy soil biota. Bark, wood chips, compost, grass clippings, hay, tea tree/cane mulch, paper and cardboard can all be used as mulch materials in your garden. Install a micro irrigation system in your garden, with drippers and sprayers to water your plants. This is a simple way to deliver water onto the soil directly within the root zone of plants. Micro irrigation is ideal for garden beds of all different shapes and suits a wide range of plants. The main benefit of installing these systems is that they greatly reduce evaporation and water use, and ensure that water gets to where it’s needed. Evaporation, runoff and watering of non-target areas are reduced when compared to other methods.