New Guide To Help Farmers If Water Supplies Are Restricted

The Agriculture and Horticulture Development Board (AHDB) has published a new guide to help farmers around the UK alleviate livestock stress and keep animals safe if water supplies are interrupted or restricted in the future – important given Defra research showing that 85 per cent of farms draw water from the public mains supply.


Some 31 per cent of farms source water by abstraction from watercourses, while a quarter use water from boreholes, so if a burst pipe does happen there are alternative sources available but farmers are being advised to ensure the alternative supply is safe before use.


Extreme weather and temperature fluctuations can make farms very vulnerable indeed to water supply interruptions, particularly so for livestock farms. Lactating cows, for example, need between 60 and 100 litres of water a day, while lactating sows and gilts may need between 15 and 30 litres a day.


In the event of water interruption, the guide advises you to identify the source and find out whether it’s on the public or private supply system. Find out if it’s localised and then let your water wholesaler and retailer know that you’ve been affected. Reduce your non-essential water usage and prioritise your resources for essential activities.


Planning ahead can also help protect you if you do find yourself facing water-related problems. Work out your daily water use (which water audit services can help you with), then work out your operations so that potable and non-potable water is kept separate. Consider your short-term water tanker and storage needs, and where these could be kept on site.


Monitor your site for leaks and bursts by checking water meters regularly and use leak detection services to see if there are any signs you might have a problem, like new streams or differences in vegetation.


Water resources scientist Nicola Dunn – who led the creation of the new guide – said: “Following changes in water regulation, we’ve clarified the points of contact farmers have with what are now called water wholesalers – which supply your water – and retailers, to whom you pay your bill.


“As a livestock business on mains supply you can register as a Category 4 sensitive customer, so if your water is cut off the wholesaler is aware and can prioritise accordingly.”


If you’re interested in having an audit of your farm carried out, give us a call here at H2O Building Services. This is the first step you can take to save yourself money and also make sure you’re not wasting water anywhere on site.


We’ll compare your water usage, including volumes, against what you’re being charged for so that any discrepancies can be highlighted that may have resulted in you being overcharged.


We’ll also be able to make a series of recommendations as to how you can reduce your water usage and consequently lower your costs. It’s possible that you could see a 30 per cent drop in charges for your water supply and wastewater disposal if you have an audit carried out.