Scientist says wells could save gardens

SIENA YATES
Last updated 08:05 20/02/2013
 Professor Earl Bardsley
Chris Hillock/FAIRFAX NZ
Grass is greener: Professor Earl Bardsley has a plan to fix the region’s browning lawns and drooping flowers.

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While our lush green lawns and blooming gardens wilt in the summer heat, one Waikato scientist has been busy hatching a plan to save the day. Or season.

Waikato University associate professor Earl Bardsley has come up with a scheme to "engineer" rain into private supply wells which could be the gifts that keep on giving.

Dr Bardsley's expertise is in hydropower generation and efficiency, skills he's put to good planning use.

"With water restrictions in place . . . people's gardens and lawns are drying out and everybody's getting a little hot under the collar because you've got this great big river running through town and you can't use any of the water," he said.

But in most of the Waikato, there's water not far under ground and roof runoff could go into soakage sumps where a pump could be installed to supply gardening water.

"The added advantage here is that water soaking down past the root zone might be used a second time."

Edmund Brown, from the Waikato Regional Council's resource information group, estimated the cost of installing such a well at roughly $400.

"As time goes on there will only be more pressure on our water resource.

"So if people want to keep having green lawns then we need some different approaches.

"This is often what a lot of the rural community is doing anyway . . . but the need for it in town would depend on how important an individual's lawn or garden is," he said.

However, he warned that many of Hamilton's small streams are only flowing at the moment because the groundwater is seeping into them, which could end if people started in on such a scheme.

siena.yates@fairfaxmedia.co.nz

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