Water supply and resource efficiency

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Water may be supplied treated to potable standards via mains from a water provider or farmers may have their own supply such as a borehole, well or spring. Water quality and preventing wastage is important; the water byelaws control how water is stored and distributed on farms.

There are two aspects to consider:

  • Using it more efficiently
  • Collecting the rain

Rainfall and rainwater harvesting

There are two aspects to rainfall which need to be considered:

  • Preventing an increased volume of slurry through the use of guttering, covered yards and slurry stores and segregated drainage systems.
  • Rainwater harvesting, which is the collection and use of rainwater falling onto buildings which would otherwise have gone down the drains, been lost through evaporation, or soaked into the ground.  This option offers potential but plans need to be carefully costed and it depends on the amount of rainfall and complexity of any necessary infrastructure such as controllers, filters and tanks.

There is more information in Rainwater Harvesting: an on-farm guide from the Environment Agency

Using water efficiently

  • Download AHDB Pork’s Knowledge Transfer Bulletin no. 20: Water Usage: Tips on saving a precious resource
  • Download AHDB Dairy’s booklet 'Effective use of water on a dairy farm'  which details the options available to help evaluate how efficiently producers are using the water on farm and points out ways to save costs and maximise water efficiency.

Drought and hosepipe bans – implications for pig farmers

Temporary restrictions in water use are applied from time to time in parts of England if rainfall is low and generally these apply to domestic customers rather than commercial customers. The use of water in pig farming should generally not be affected, especially where health and welfare or safety is concerned.  However producers must check which exceptions apply to them with their particular supplier, as rules and exceptions vary.  

Click here for full details on the hosepipe bans and details of each water supplier.

Further information