Can I Use Recycled Water In My Garden?

Can I Use Recycled Water In My Garden?

Mar 29th 2023

Whether you live in a drought-prone or water-abundant area, using recycled water for irrigation is highly beneficial for the environment and your wallet. Besides using an efficient irrigation system, using grey water or recycled water to irrigate your outdoor garden is an excellent way to conserve water. The demand for freshwater is growing with the population. Using recycled water preserves drinking-quality water by providing an economical and reliable alternative source of irrigation water.

You might wonder how safe it is to use recycled water for a garden. Can it be used in the vegetable garden if it isn't potable for drinking? The answer is YES.

Recycled water has been keeping sports fields and golf courses green for many years. In addition, it can be used for watering a vast range of garden plants, including fruits, vegetables, and salad greens. Using recycled water in the garden is similar to using drinking water. By understanding a few basics of recycled water and following regular good gardening practices, you will be on the way to a healthy, beautiful garden.

We'll discuss this topic in detail throughout our article. So, keep scrolling and reading to stay informed about recycled water, its uses, and its safety.

Gardening with Recycled Water

Recycled water is treated water that has undergone advanced treatments to produce water clear of any waste material. The advanced treatment removes viruses, bacteria, pathogens, and contaminants. Therefore, it is perfectly safe to use for gardens and landscaping. In warmer climates with less clean water, recycled water is lifesaving to water plants, lawns, and gardens.

There is another term, grey water. It is all wastewater from non-toilet uses such as laundry, bathing, dishwashing, etc., and it doesn't require treatments. You can collect it from sinks, showers, and washing machines. Using grey water is an excellent way to start recycling water at home. However, avoid using blackwater completely. Blackwater is any water that comes from toilets or comes into contact with feces. It carries pathogens, so it can't be used in gardens and recycled at home.

Several states are successfully using recycled water for irrigation and gardening. The nutrient level is higher in recycled water than in regular water. So, using recycled water in a garden increases soil richness, and plants absorb extra nutrients and grow well. Gardening with recycled water is a great way to reduce energy consumption and increase drinking water.

You can collect recycled water into a container like a rain barrel. Then, you can drain water from the container through a hose and use it in your garden. Secondly, you can route recycled water directly into your irrigation system. Also, grey water systems collect water from residential clothes washers. The Department of Environmental Health only regulates Greywater systems in the unincorporated area of the country.

See our rain catchment and greywater accessories for more information.

However, reclaimed water is transferred from a treatment plant to a community through a series of pipes. All reclaimed water pipes, heads, fixtures, valves, etc., are required to be colored purple with a label, "Do not drink this water."

Is Recycled Water Safe for Plants, Fruits, and Vegetable Gardens?

Recycled water is safe for plants, vegetables, and fruit gardens. Recycled water has more nitrogen and phosphorus than drinking water. The higher nutrient levels are very beneficial to plant growth, so there would be less need for fertilizer. There is no waste in recycled water, but the bacteria that make manure and compost so effective are present in this water.

Similarly, vegetables and fruits grown with recycled water are safe. However, washing them properly and peeling them before eating is essential. If the garden has overhead irrigation and sprinkler systems, fruits and vegetables must be peeled or cooked. Bacteria can stick to the fruit's surface even after a good washing. So, peeling off the fruit is better to ensure it is clean. Lastly, recycled water doesn't affect plants' growth; rather, the extra nutrients in water help plants grow.

Some perennials that thrive on greywater include edible shrubs and vines such as raspberries, thimbleberries, blackberries and their relatives, currants, gooseberries, filberts, rhubarb, elderberry, passion fruit, kiwi, hops, and grapes.

Benefits of Using Recycled Water for Garden

There are lots of environmental, social, and economic benefits to using recycled water.

  • It is safe and always in supply.
  • It is much cheaper than drinking water, reducing your water bills. 
  • It has extra nutrients than potable water, increasing the richness of the soil.
  • Using recycled water saves water in your garden and laundry and helps protect our clean water supply.
  • It aids you in growing a nourishing green garden all year round.
  • Using recycled water helps maintain the quality of sporting fields and open spaces.
  • It saves the environment.

Watering Tips

Here are some helpful watering tips for thriving your garden on recycled water.

  1. Give deep watering weekly rather than daily sprays to foster deeper roots. A deep watering once a week is usually enough except if plants are newly established, and the weather is scorching. In this situation, twice a week is good.
  2. Water the root zones and group plants with the same watering requirements. This practice saves water.
  3. Water in cooler parts of the day, early morning, and evening. Watering in noontime increases water loss due to evaporation and causes leaf burn.
  4. Don't overwater and over-fertilize plants.
  5. Install a quality drip irrigation system to water the garden. It is the most efficient method that saves water and retains moisture around root zones where needed.
  6. Follow water-saving techniques. Recycled water also shouldn't be wasted.
  7. Water the roots of plants and avoid leaves while watering by hand, as this reduces evaporation and saves water.

The Bottom Line

Recycled water is perfectly safe for your garden, and it saves a good amount of water and energy. Also, it has a higher level of nutrients, which means the need for extra fertilizer may also be less. You can use it on plants, fruits, and vegetables. But don't apply recycled water directly on the surface of vegetables and fruits.

Additionally, it's crucial to wash garden produce with clean water and peel it before eating or cooking. Last but not least, recycled water isn't safe to drink. In addition to using recycled water, a drip irrigation system that is appropriately designed, installed, and maintained is the best way to conserve water.

Are you looking for quality drip irrigation supplies? Check out our extensive range of high-quality irrigation supplies that will help you save your water and money in the long run.