Staying green with greywater


Jacinta Cleary visits one experienced green thumb who keeps her garden thriving with greywater.

On a rainy Melbourne day a visit to Karen Sutherland’s edible garden is a bit like a trip to the tropics, with feijoa, mango and avocado trees all surviving well. Admittedly, the mango tree is far from fruiting, but maybe one day if the weather continues to warm.

It’s a combination of rainwater, greywater and a little bit of mains water than keeps this suburban garden absolutely thriving. Keeping a garden alive in dry periods is one thing, but taking it to the next step and growing healthy produce with minimal water requires some planning.

Household greywater is used every day in this garden and has made a big difference. Karen specialises in designing and installing edible gardens and importantly, helping people learn how to grow and maintain their own veggies, fruit and herbs. Her philosophy on gardening is very much tied in with sustainability and the fact that sourcing food locally can help the planet by reducing transport emissions. Through years of experimentation she can judge just how much water is needed for an abundant crop of fruit and veg.

Karen and partner John had enough hands-on expertise to design and construct their own greywater system. Greywater can’t be stored longer than 24 hours, so the system is only big enough to hold a day’s worth of water. The header tank holds between 180 and 200 litres, with an overflow going to the sewerage system. Karen keeps track of how much water has gone into the header tank each day to ensure a minimum of wastage from overflow.

Read the full article in ReNew 110.

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