In today’s modern world, most responsible citizens have come to realise that a growing world population and climate change are doing unexpected things to weather patterns, and water is not an infinite resource.

Most people are becoming aware of the ‘cost’ that needs to be paid in order to enjoy many common household staples such as beef and milk (one litre of milk takes roughly 400 litres of water to produce) and are starting to institute initiatives such as Meat Free Mondays to combat it. Now home gardeners have a water-friendly alternative to a backyard flower, fruit and vegetable garden in the form of a hydroponic solution.

While it might seem counterintuitive so save water by growing plants in a liquid, hydroponic setup gardens actually use much less water than traditional soil gardens do. You see, when a gardener waters a plant, only a portion of it reaches the plant. Some drips out of the container, seeps in the surrounding ground or evaporates.

With a hydroponic system (take for example a basic pot with a recirculating system that prevents evaporating and leakage) the plant has access to the water it needs provided by a small pump and any excess is recirculated and preserved until needed in an overflow reservoir. Instead of soil, the plant feeds on a nutrient rich solution that it can directly absorb. And not only is less water needed overall, but because the plant is being fed directly it will grow faster and produce a better yield.

Many farming experts estimate that hydroponics can use up to ten times less water than your typical garden. In this way, the amount of water used by a soil garden in a day can last a hydroponic garden several weeks. Some gardeners even use collected rainwater for extra conservation.

While it’s true that hydroponics require less water, this doesn’t mean that any water will do. Depending on what you intend to grow and the state of the water, you might need to add additional nutrients and minerals. If you aren’t sure which option would be best for you, your local hydroponics suppler in New Zealand should be able to point you in the right direction.