I am thinking of putting together a letter to our residents asking for their help to sustain our planted areas.
The idea is to ask for volunteers to adopt a raised bed/planted area next to where they live and to water it for us during the ban. In effect adopting a particular patch and water it in accordance to the advice we provide. We will then confirm with those who have expressed an interest that they are responsible for their 'patch'. What I don't want is 6 well meaning residents pouring their bath water, cooking water etc into a small area and drowning the plants.
One example I can think of is we usually shower rather than bath and there is clean water wasted while we try and get the temperature right. Sticking a bucket in the bath while we do this would hopefully give us plenty of water to use on our local raised bed.
What I'm not sure about is if there is any waste water we would normally let down the plug hole that should not be used. I noticed in the other thread about the ban that there are good times and bad times to water - I believe the example given was watering in the evening rather than during the hottest part of the day.
Our gardener is currently off for at least a month, but we can tie up with a neighbouring estate to get individual advice on plant watering needs.
The sad thing is that during the last ban I tried to push for us to consider more about water harvesting, storing and rotating the rain barrows which would have allowed us to water smaller areas without tapping into the mains. Not that it would have made much difference to the current position with only one estate doing it, but would have been a great community based project and a sense of greater ownership for the local environment rather than just assuming it was the gardener's responsibility. It would also have given us much more time to find solutions for using the water barrels to water areas easily.
I don't know what it says about us as human beings that rather than taking a custodial approach to our environment we abuse it then moan when that abuse comes back and bites us.
From the RHS site http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/Profile.aspx?pid=313
Domestic wastewater (known as ‘grey water’) may also be used in the garden. This may be from the kitchen, the washing macnine or baths, basins and showers. 'Black water' from WCs should always be consigned to the sewerage system and never used in the garden. Water from septic tanks is best not used either.
Household soaps and detergents are harmless to plants, but water containing bleaches, disinfectants, dishwasher salt and stronger cleaning products should not be used, as they can harm plants and even damage soil structure if used long-term on soil.
It is prudent to alternate containers used for wastewater and mains or rainwater, to prevent build up of potentially harmful residues and bacteria. It is also sensible to avoid using grey water on salads and other produce to be used without cooking.
Grey water should be used as it is produced and storage avoided. If left potentially harmful organisms might multiply and it will certainly smell most unsavoury.
I think a lot more scientific information is required before using
"Grey Water" for fruit and veg' production, but for shrub and perennial
borders then I cannot see a problem, unless certain toxic chemicals are used.
However If the production of new human antibacterial/anti perspirent agents
also continued, then these also should fall under these conditions.