Water-wise Gardening

Water-wise garden

Many of us have the desire to create a lush green garden surrounding our homes, but we seldom realise the impact this has on our environment, especially on dwindling water resources. Most of our drinking water goes to waste. Research shows that 62% of our domestic water is either flushed down the toilet or washed down the drain. A further 35% is used in the garden. Most people tend to over-water their gardens with the result that millions of litres are wasted every year.

Most of our main water supplies come from dams that are built in natural catchment areas which flood vast areas of wilderness, farms and homes. With every dam the natural flow of the rivers are disturbed down stream and whole ecosystems with unique plants, animals and insects are lost forever. The demand for water is increasing daily making it necessary to build more dams. The government is forced to formulate new policies and water tariffs are likely to increase substantially.

By conserving water wherever possible, we can delay the building of new dams, tunnels and pipelines. This will save money and protect the environment. It is a responsible choice, and our gardens are a good place to begin.

With a water-wise garden one can create a peaceful place that will provide shade, perfume and even colour throughout the year. With careful planning, right plant choices and good maintenance a water-wise garden can survive with minimal water during the dry season.

For any water-wise garden there are 8 Basic Principles that are simple and easy to implement.

The articles on Veld Gardening will help you select plants growing naturally in your area.

This list of plants has been drawn up for gardens in the winter rainfall Western Cape regions.

See the Gardening and Greening Section of our Publications Catalogue for books on water-wise gardening.


Liesl van der Walt
March 2001

SANBI Home © S A National Biodiversity Institute
Using SA Plants