The RHS is calling on gardeners to switch from 'mains to rains' this summer to save water

The Royal Horticultural Society is asking gardening lovers to cut down water consumption

metal watering can in garden
(Image credit: Getty / James Guilliam / EyeEm)

The RHS is urging UK gardeners to reduce the amount of mains water we use, encouraging us to make the most of rainwater, instead. 

Growing plants has huge benefits environmentally and there are lots of sustainable garden ideas to help us work alongside nature. That said, if the nation's garden water use stays the same, there may not be enough to meet demand by 2050.

'Water is not often talked about as part of the climate and biodiversity crisis,' says Janet Manning, RHS water scientist, 'but it’s where we will begin to feel the effects first.'

sprinkler in large garden

(Image credit: Getty / itsabreeze photography)

'We know that plants need water to survive, but it’s often not as much as we thought, as wasted water often disappears underground,' she continues. Janet also explains that if we help our soil to capture and retain rainfall better, it means our plants will be able to use the water reserves during dry spells. 

Luckily, there are plenty of garden water-saving tips out there, so we can each play our part. One easy method is to grow plants that can cope with near-drought conditions - our Mediterranean garden ideas piece includes plenty of beautiful examples. 

It's thought that we use as much as 205 billion litres of water outside every year, with a large amount of this being used in our gardens. This is enough to fill one billion water butts.

fuschias in hanging basket with watering can

(Image credit: Getty / David Burton)

The greatest saving is thought to come from not irrigating lawns during dry spells. If just one in ten households with average-sized gardens pledged not to use a hosepipe or sprinkler system on their lawns, the amount of water saved would fill as many as 383 million baths. 

Despite the UK experiencing a wet May, the Environment Agency has warned if the UK does nothing to reduce its demand on mains water there will not be enough to meet demand by 2050.

Learn how to reduce your water use in your garden and pledge to take simple actions this year at Mains To Rains. The total sum of these pledges is set to be revealed at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show in September.

garden bench

(Image credit: Getty / Jacky Parker Photography)

For more information on the RHS’ water research visit the RHS website. The 'mains to rains' pledge will help us cut down our water bills, do our bit for the environment, and even allow us to explore growing different plants.

Will you be signing the pledge?

Millie Hurst
News Writer

Millie Hurst has worked in digital journalism for five years, having previously worked as a Senior SEO Editor at News UK both in London and New York. She joined the Future team in early 2021, working across several brands, including Gardeningetc. Now, she is Senior Content Editor at Ideal Home, taking care of evergreen articles aimed at inspiring people to make the most of their homes and outdoor spaces.