‘During Lockdown One we ran out of water in our water butts…’

Jonathan talks about the difficulty of talking about drought in the “soggy” Lake District, but equally, dry spells have happened in recent years, to the extent that the water butts have run dry and hose pipes have been used to irrigate. Jonathan has invested in water butt pumps to help utilise every drop of water in the butt.

It’s quite hard talking about drought in the Lake District. Everything is constantly soggy. Lockdown One was the driest three months I think any of us have ever experienced and we actually ran out of water in our water butts. We’ve got water butts on nearly all the downpipes. There’s enough, normally to water the garden.

But we did a lot of replanting, we did need to water it in. That was Lockdown One and I’m afraid the hose pipe came out, which rarely happens because the water butts just completely ran dry through, lack of rain, and they charged up a bit. I think in early May, we had a few days of drizzle and rain, but it wasn’t enough. But by July, normal service was resumed. And we haven’t seen a hose pipe since. Speaking to an expert plumber, it would be quite disruptive to harvest grey water and get it back in for cisterns only, for flushing. And I said, how about just for irrigation in the garden and stuff? He said, well we can rig something up for that – that would be a lot easier. I found these funky little things for the water butts. At the moment we just go around with the watering can and we fill them up and you can never quite get them empty, but you can put little solar powered pumps in all of these things. And they squirt the water out at higher pressure. So I’m thinking. oh that’ll be quite handy.

But the weather has been challenging. We had the really good hot spell in August, when I say good, hot spell – unpleasantly hot – which is a another challenge.

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