Gardeners using scheme water for reticulation can usually be assured of good quality water which has low salt levels. Many gardens, however, are equipped with wells or bores that use groundwater supplies. These water sources can contain salt levels that are harmful to plant growth and the physical conditions of soil.
Water quality can also affect fertility needs, reticulation system performance and longevity, and how the water can be applied. These factors make knowledge of water quality critical to understanding the management of a healthy garden.
Home gardeners should have their bore water tested before applying it to the garden. A number of analytical laboratories will analyse water including Chemistry Centre WA or consult the internet or Yellow Pages directory for other testing centres under ‘Analysis’. Fees are charged for water testing and this web article will assist in the interpretation of test results.
Gardeners should take into account the fact that bore water quality changes with the seasons.
There are a number of factors in reticulated water that can be tested. For Western Australian home gardeners, it is usually enough to test total soluble salts, total solids, pH, iron content and, in arid regions, the boron content.