Looking for tips on how to save water in your garden? You've come to the right place.
As our world changes, the need to take care of our most precious resource is greater than ever.
That’s why we’ve worked with Tony Woods, a former RHS Young Garden Designer of the Year, to create a sustainable garden at this year’s Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival.
But don’t worry if you can’t visit the Thames Water Flourishing Future Garden for yourself – we’ve got all the insider tips you need for a water-wise garden, right here…
Step away from the hosepipe
Every year, our population grows by around 100,000 people. Eventually, we’ll reach the point where there’s not enough water to go around.
It doesn’t help that our climate’s changing too. With more heatwaves happening in the summer, it’s no surprise that 40% of people worry about their plants and garden dying during hot weather.
But that doesn’t mean you need to reach for your hosepipe and start spraying everything in sight! You can keep your garden looking lush while still caring for water – and here’s how.
Choose water-wise plants
“What will our gardens look like in the future?” says Tony. “With hotter summers and prolonged periods of drought on the horizon, we’ll see more beautiful gardens with plants that are adapted to survive without water for extended periods of time.”
This was one of the main inspirations for the Thames Water Flourishing Future Garden, which features a wide range of water-wise plants that need less water to thrive.
Take a leaf out of our garden and get your green fingers on:
Rosemary (Rosmarinus officinalis): After initial watering and a little bit of time, rosemary will look after itself. As well as being a useful kitchen herb, it looks lovely all year round and will bloom with stunning blue flowers.
English lavender (Lavender angustifolia): Plant this in a sunny spot, ideally in early spring, to reduce its reliance on water. Large, fragrant flower spikes will fill your garden with a lovely scent.
Sea holly (Eryngium zabelii): This unique-looking plant originates from dry mountainous regions and is great for summer. The spiky flowers add a pop of colour, and bees love them!
Stonecrop (Sedum ‘Matrona’): This fleshy plant needs little care, except removal of the previous year’s growth. It has stunning dark fleshy foliage and flowers in late summer.
Catmint (Nepeta): These colourful plants feature soft silver foliage and blue flowers, which only need cutting back after flowering. They’ll bloom for weeks in the summer to attract bees.
Water plants in the right way at the right time
We recommend watering all your plants less often but more thoroughly, using a watering can instead of a hose. This gives your plant’s roots plenty of time to dry out, promoting growth and preventing waterlogging. Win win!
Don’t forget to water your plants late in the evening or early in the morning, rather than in the middle of the day. Otherwise, more water will evaporate in the sun, leaving your plants thirstier than ever.
Protect your soil
Take Tony’s advice on this one. “Using clay-rich, quality soil in your beds and borders will help to hold water more evenly,” he says. “You can also add bark, compost or straw around your plants to reduce evaporation (known as mulching).”
Don’t forget to stay on top of weeds – invasive species can take over your garden quickly, competing with your flowers not just for water, but for sunlight too.
Take a walk on the wild side
From butterflies to bees, birds to badgers, we’re doing everything we can to support Britain’s wildlife at more than 300 of our sites across London and the Thames Valley.
In the Thames Water Flourishing Future Garden, we’ve planted a blooming wildflower meadow underneath soaring native trees like birch and willow to show you how easy it can be to encourage biodiversity in your own garden. It’s time to get your green fingers dirty!
Sow your own wildflowers
Is there anything better than a garden filled with birdsong, buzzing bees and brightly-coloured butterflies?
From brilliant blue cornflowers to pinky-purple corn cockle, ruby-red poppies to sunshine-yellow corn marigold, annual wildflowers will add a pop of colour and provide food and shelter for pollinating insects, birds and small mammals in any outside space.
And you don’t need a full meadow of them, either – native blooms will look just as pretty if you scatter them in your beds and borders.
Plant long grasses
Many butterflies love to eat wild grasses. Why not lure them in by leaving a patch of longer grassland in your garden? Mix in wildflowers and herbs like sorrel and oregano – the more variety, the better, especially if you want to attract as many species as possible.
“Butterflies love the sunshine, so try to pick a warm spot that’s sheltered away from the wind,” Tony says. Just remember to avoid using insecticides and pesticides as they can kill pollinating insects.
Swap fences for hedges
Not only do native hedgerows shield your garden from wind and sun, they’re also the ideal home for hedgehogs, beetles and birds. So why not swap drab fences for fresh greenery?
“It’s not as difficult as you’d think to create a hedge,” says Tony. “You can use most native trees and shrubs, including blackthorn, hawthorn, yew, beech, hornbeam, holly and crab apple, to build your own.” Done right, we reckon it’ll provide a home for hundreds of species in the years to come!
Designed to help you recycle rainwater, reduce water use, keep sewers flowing and reduce flood risks, our latest sustainable innovations will be on display in the Thames Water Flourishing Future Garden. Over the next five years, we’ll be investing around £60 million to develop even more.
But you don’t need to invest lots of money if you want to innovate in your own garden. In fact, a few simple changes can make all the difference…
Make grey areas greener
You can encourage natural drainage and help rainwater to naturally soak into the ground with soakaways or permeable paving, both of which can help to slow the flow of run-off into sewers and reduce the risk of flooding.
But if that’s not possible, why not plant a rain garden with a mix of shrubs, perennials and flowers, which will help to temporarily hold rainwater flowing from your roof, patio or lawn?
Tony also suggests using your pond as a natural holding area for rain. “In the Thames Flourishing Future Garden, we’re using the plants in the pond as a filter for rainwater and excess surface water,” he explains.
Water butts can collect as much as 5,000 litres of water a year – enough to fill 370 buckets or 500 watering cans, which you can use to wash your car or water your plants. Don’t worry if you don’t have a water butt – you can just leave your bucket or watering can out to fill up on rainy days!
Grow your own fruit and veg
As Tony says: “Lots of us are eager to grow our own herbs, fruit and vegetables.” Not only can you live more sustainably by growing your own fruit and veg, you can save money too!
In the Thames Water Flourishing Future Garden, we’ve created a teaching garden to showcase the full range of produce you can grow at home. If you’re a beginner, some of the easiest to care for include strawberries, raspberries, blackberries, lettuce, tomatoes, potatoes, peas and runner beans.
Want to visit the Thames Water Flourishing Future Garden for yourself?
From 1 to 7 July 2019, you can enjoy:
World-class show gardens, including our very own Thames Water Flourishing Future Garden
Expert talks on gardening, growing your own produce, cooking and more
Health and wellbeing zones
Stalls selling plants, gardening products and delicious food
Our Thames on Tap Water Fountains – bring a reusable bottle to fill up on as much free water as you like!
Discover how easy it can be to encourage biodiversity, reduce water use and prevent flooding in your garden, local schools and community spaces, and fill up your bottles with world-class drinking water for free.
Want to get your green fingers on two tickets to this year’s Thames Water Flushing Future Garden at Hampton Court Palace Garden Festival?
Just take a photo showing how you take care of water, how you create a home for wildlife OR how you garden sustainably in your outside space, then post it on Instagram with the hashtag #flourishingfuturegarden or post your picture in our FB post comment section with the hashtag.
Competition closes on Monday 17th June and winners will be notified by the 21st June, for full T&Cs click here
We’re looking forward to seeing you there!
... View more
First off, welcome to the community! I'm glad you like this set up, it's definitely growing. Our staff do participate on here, this is a place to learn about all things related to Thames Water, share tips and engage with customers like yourself too!
Do you have any hobbies?
... View more
Thanks for your patience!
Airvents installed “back in the day” were meant to vent the sewer. Even today they still play an important part in keeping the sewer pipes healthy as they allow the safe release of gases that otherwise would build up and up, and combine to form harmful gases that can attack and destroy the pipes.
In terms of ownership, it comes down to where the pipe in. If the pipe falls within the private section of the sewer, you would be responsible. However, should it fall on the public part, then Thames Water would be responsible for maintaining (and removing).
All sewers before 1937 are public sewers is they were already in place, laid by a sewerage undertaker or adopted by a sewerage undertaker.
In 2011, the law changed again to transfer ownership of shared lines into public ownership.
To determine whether your vent falls within the public or private spectrum, as ownership can sometimes be complicated. Please give our team a call 0800 316 9800.
You might find this image helpful too.
... View more
Welcome to the community and thank you so much for your question! I can’t discuss your neighbour’s account, however we're rolling out smart meters across our region.
We have the right to fit meters under the Water Industry Act 1991 section 162, under our Resources Management Plan for 2015 - 2040. This act grants permission for water companies to meter domestic premises on a compulsory basis in areas which have been determined by the Secretary of State to be of serious water stress (this includes our region).
You can take a look at this map to see the areas we’re working on.
To learn more about our smart meters, please check out our FAQs.
... View more
We know that clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene should be normal for everyone everywhere.
But, today, millions of people in Malawi have their access denied, simply because of who they are, how much money they have, or where they live. Lacking access to basic human rights stops people having an equal chance to be healthy, educated and financially secure.
World Water Day is a huge opportunity for us to harness the power and commitment of all our colleagues, partners and customers to come together and highlight this crisis, calling on Governments to put water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) and Sustainable Goal 6 (SDG6) at the top of their agendas.
Thames Loves Malawi
Today, 1 in 3 people in Malawi lack clean water and more than half of the population still have nowhere decent to go to the toilet.
We know taps and toilets are relatively simple to install. The bigger challenge is changing how these services are planned, delivered and managed to make a lasting change.
Between us, we have the commitment, experience, resourcefulness and connections to change millions more lives – until everyone everywhere has what so many of us take for granted. Together we can do it.
Naomi Mwale, 25, fetching water from a new water kiosk in Chiteyeye, Kasungu, Malawi, February 2019.
Naomi, 25, is a mother of two children from Chiteyeye, a big community in the Kasungu District of Malawi. Life has changed for the community in Chiteyeye as a new water kiosk was constructed in the area, thanks to Thames Loves Malawi, and it has reduced the distance people have to travel in order to fetch water.
Naomi said: “When the taps are running, everyone is happy. Most women don’t have to walk long distances. It is such a relief to have water close by. Life becomes so good and enjoyable.
“I am thankful for this intervention. We no longer walk long distances every day and spend more time fetching water. Please do the same for others who desperately need similar help. There are a lot of people who still walk very long distances today fetching water.”
Zabeta Dzonzi, 69, Chiswe Village, Mponela, February, 2019.
Zabeta Dzonzi, usually stays alone in her small thatched house located on the outskirts of Chiswe village in Mponela. Having only one room in her house, she looks after some of her grandchildren when they visit her during school holidays. She also takes care permanently of three grandchildren whose parents have passed away.
Her community is haunted by lack of clean water. Every day is a struggle for the precious liquid, which is a vital ingredient in almost everything people do in that area. Shallow wells usually dry up within few months after the rainy season.
The nearest source of water is Kasangadzi river, which is a 20 minute walk away from the village.
Accessing the river is highly dangerous as the entry point at the river bank is very steep. This makes it difficult to carry a water bucket on the head.
Apart from supplying water to the surrounding communities, the river is also a source of life for a lot of animals such as cattle and dogs. The water itself has a lot of algae and other planktons that further contaminates the precious liquid.
Zabeta said: “I have been a resident here since 1978. My life has been full of struggles due to water problems. Supporting my family has never been easy. I had to work very hard trying to get my children educated. Unfortunately, due to financial constraints, most of them did not finish their school and ended up married and then moved out of this village.
“It pains me to see them uneducated just like me. It has been a cycle of poverty and anguish within our family. My wish is having an opportunity to work for the betterment of my grandchildren now. They deserve a better future. The only problem is that we spend most of our little resources trying to treat water. Diarrhea is a common disease in our family.
“Usually when we don’t have money to buy chlorine, we end up drinking dirty water that makes us sick. This results in us spending more time visiting the hospital. It is not healthy living like this.
“If we had clean water, am sure I would live the rest of my life happy. Happy not just for me, but to also see my grandchildren grow in a good environment. I don’t want them to experience the same challenges I have faced. They deserve a better life.”
The Thames Loves Malawi project seeks to increase sustainable access, use and management of improved water and sanitation services in the low income areas of Kasungu and Mponela.
The overall purpose of the project is to improve the WASH conditions in the respective districts by mobilising the communities to end open defecation by constructing household level toilets, providing water supply schemes as an incentive and through thorough health and hygiene campaigns for long-term sustainable behaviour changes.
Share your stories
Please do remember to share your stories, activities and photographs on Yammer, remembering to use the hashtags #WorldWaterDay #WWD2019.
We are proud to support WaterAid’s mission to make clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene normal for everyone, everywhere within a generation. With your continued support, we can make it happen.
Happy World Water Day!
... View more
Photo credit: Koddy Mendez Ahhh Pancake Day! The one day of the year where you can get away with having pancakes for dinner! (or all day)
A very sweet and savoury treat, whether you like chocolate sauce or maple syrup – we can save that debate for another time.
One thing you should remember, after you cook scrumptious pancake, what should you do with the oil?
As you know, when cooking oil gets dumped down the drain, it contributes to horrendous fatbergs, which block our sewers.
What can you do to help our Sewper Heroes? Glad you asked!
Instead of pouring fats and oils down the sink, collect them in a container (such as a yogurt pot or jam jar) and leave them to cool down.
Once set, you can scoop them out and pop them straight in the bin.
Your local council may also have a special way to dispose of fat, oil and grease. Please check with them for more information.
Now let’s get on with the fun facts about Pancake Day (useless trivia to impress your mates!)
Did you know…
The most flips anyone has ever done with a pancake: 349 flips in two minutes! That’s some savvy wrist action right there.
The Guinness Book of Records for the most pancakes served in eight hours is 34,818.
We all have our quirks when it comes to toppings, but some of the most unusual toppings turned out to be sour cream and caviar, ketchup and mustard, peanut butter mixed with ice cream, cream cheese and strawberries.
The famous playwright William Shakespeare loved pancakes so much; he mentioned them in some of his plays. (All’s Well That Ends Well and As You Like It)
In England, we use an unbelievable 52 million eggs on Pancake Day! That’s 22 million more than any other day.
If you’re still looking for a recipe, don’t worry, I got you covered!
Allergy Free Pancakes (Egg, Milk and Gluten Free)
Fool Proof Tradition English Pancakes
... View more
Did you know that every day more than 15 million in London and the Thames Valley flush or drain 2.8 billion litres of used water for treatment? This is where our Sewper Heroes come in, to help keep things flowing down underneath the street and deep in our sewers.
One of our Sewper Heroes from the ads watched our 'Fatberg Autopsy - Secret of the Sewers' documentary and was actually inspired to learn more and subsequently apply for a role, “I’ve been a sewage flusher for nearly a year now, I saw the documentary on TV about the fatbergs and the people working in the sewers and it really caught my interest, so I had a look on Google to read more about the job and I saw their were vacancies, so I applied and got the job.” Our Sewper Heroes clear out 75000 blocked sewer drains each year, you wouldn’t believe the stuff they find! One of their pet peeves, to put it mildly is wet wipes, it’s best to bin your wet wipes and not flush them down the loo. Unlike toilet paper, they don’t dissolve. Wet wipes cause…you guessed it - FATBERGS! But that isn't all they find down there... They say you learn something new every day, one of our Sewper Heroes pointed out the weirdest thing they ever encountered, “One of the weirdest things you might find down the sewers are the dead rats, for some reason when they die the gasses in their bodies make them inflate, so there are massive swollen dead rats floating around which is pretty nasty!”
It doesn't stop there! Missing something from your underwear drawer? Finding items like these in our sewers certainly triggers the imagination! What do you think the story behind these undergarments could be? Comment below!
Learn more about how you can help #FightTheFatberg
... View more