The whole southeast of England is getting drier.

We get less rain than Rome.

We are getting wetter winters, but also drier summers, and with growing populations, we all need to use water more carefully.

If everyone with a garden collected rainwater in winter for use in summer, it would ease the strain on our area.

If you have a water meter, it would also save you money

Summer, dry weather and heatwaves seem a long way away, but just like planning what to grow in your garden come summer, you need to start planning how you will water everything.

Water butts are the traditional solution for which there is a great variety.

Slimline models of 100-litre capacity cost as little as £25 for a free-standing butt, which includes the base needed so that you can get your watering can under the tap.

Water butts come in styles from the usual green plastic to wood effect to a lovely terracotta pot style.

But a standard water butt can be screened from view with all sorts of inexpensive trellising, bamboo or greenery.

Whatever you choose, if you have the space, don’t have only one. Link them up and have as many as possible.

Or you could have an underground tank.

If installing an underground tank is not within your reach (they cost from £1,000 to approximately £5,000 depending on size) IBCs (industrial bulk containers) make great water butts which can be bought online for under £200; a suitable tap adaptor to fit garden hoses costs about £10.

They each hold 1,000 litres of water.

They are basically large plastic boxes inside metal frames used for transporting liquids in bulk.

Because water is very heavy, they need to stand on something strong – bricks or breeze blocks perhaps – so that you can get watering cans under the tap.

Screen them in the same way as traditional water butts. If you have the space, connect two together.

If you’re lucky, you might find an IBC hiding in the corner of a farmer’s field and for a small fee you could be the new owner. Good luck saving water.

Our next event is Neighbourhood Nosh, our free community meal made from food that would otherwise go to waste. Saturday, January 25, 5pm - 8pm. Centre 70, Goldsmith’s Lane, Wallingford. Contact Amy at or 01491 833206 to help from 2.30pm. See you there.