Botanic Gardens Trust, Sydney, Australia

Waterwise Gardening

Drought and the Gardens

The Royal Botanic Gardens & Domain Trust is complying with the current Sydney Water voluntary water restrictions. We are upgrading our watering systems and have introduced strategies to reduce water use throughout the Gardens and the Domain. Be water-wise - in this drought we all need to conserve water.

Your garden holds the key to saving water

Sydney Water has found that gardens use up to 25% of all household water and that conserving water is one of the most effective ways to help protect the environment and make the best use of our existing water resources.

Why get smart with water?

  • Australia is an arid continent and unreliable rainfall is a feature of the environment.
  • Demands on our nation’s water are increasing and water is becoming more expensive.
  • Building new water storages is very costly, often has huge impacts on natural systems, and is often contentious.
  • Water usage needs to be reduced, or we may not have enough to supply our needs.
  • Less than 1% of the earth’s water is useable - it is a precious resource that must not be wasted.
  • Gardens account for about 25% of domestic water use. Changing the way you care for your garden can greatly reduce the amount of water you need.
  • Selection of plants that have low water requirements is an important factor in reducing demand for water around the home.

Being thrifty with water

Some practical things to do to help save water 

  • Water thoroughly established trees, shrubs and lawns less frequently but deeply - water slowly to allow penetration.
  • Water your garden early morning or evening to reduce evaporation.
  • Mulch your garden with organic materials and compost to reduce evaporation and week growth.
  • Use a timer where possible for sprinkler systems.
  • Choose plants that do well in dry conditions. These include many Australian natives, succulents and mediterranean plants.
  • Group plants with similar watering requirements.
  • Remember, all new plantings need regular watering until established.

Water-wise attractions at the Australian Botanic Garden, Mount Annan

At our Water-wise Garden at the Australian Botanic Garden you will find information about mulching and composting. You can also pick up a ‘Get Smart with Water’ brochure with instructions for a self-guided water-wise plant tour.

Look out for the blue labels of the ‘water-wise’ plants throughout the Australian Botanic Garden - many are worth considering for your own garden as they survive with no supplementary watering.

Rainwater tanks 

Sydney Water

At the Australian Botanic Garden we have two rainwater tanks supplied by Sydney Water to commemorate Water Week 2002. One of these tanks provides water to the Water-wise Garden (via gravity - an energy efficient arrangement that doesn’t require a pump) while the other provides water for flushing one of our toilet blocks. Collecting rainwater from your roof can reduce the amount of tap water used in your home and garden - thus saving water, money and the environment.

For a useful summary see our Waterwise healthy garden fact sheet.

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Waterwise garden at the Australian Botanic Garden

Kangaroo Paws