A garden nursery is celebrating after scooping an accolade for its efforts to preserve water.

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Howard Nurseries, based at Wortham, near Diss, was shortlisted for the Sustainability Water Industry Awards 2013 held in London last month, and scooped the Open Spaces and Agriculture category.

The business is a leading producer of field grown herbaceous perennials with more than 60 hectares of cropping in East Anglia. In response to consumer demand, it has also developed a container grown crop range. The container division continues to expand and, being a crop with a restricted root area, it places high water demands on the business, with container-grown crops requiring daily irrigation.

The business uses a combination of mains water, recycled water and abstracted ground water for irrigation, but the ground water is hard and contains ferric iron which causes a brown foliage stain.

It was seen as a natural progression to expand the storage of its winter rainfall for summer irrigation with a reservoir designed to hold the recycled water from the beds, glasshouse and tunnels. The amount of rainfall collected has been calculated at 70% from the beds, 65% from the buildings and 70% from the tunnels.

Its existing infrastructure has been designed to collect the maximum amount of rainfall and recycled water.

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