water

Running the Farm : Water Management

This section contains articles on water and water management. There are hundreds of other useful articles in our lifestyle file. If you're looking for something in particular then use the search box above. If not, then browse the article titles and see what there is to help you. If you can't find an answer here then why not ask in our discussion forums? One of the very friendly and helpful members is sure to be able to help you.

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waterThe answer to this question is usually a series of questions about the animal's liveweight, size, activity, physiological state (pregnant, lactating, etc) - all of which affect daily intake. Then of course there is the ambient temperature and humidity of the farm and the amount of shade on offer.  So all this makes you realise how dangerous an "average" figure is. But you need some kind of figure for planning water supply systems, so here are some that have been around for years.

roof waterIt has been estimated that around 400,000 people in New Zealand rely on roof water and it's a fair assumption that many of them are lifestyle farmers. Living on roof water is natural and sustainable but there are issues to think about which don't affect people on town supply.

planning your water systemIf you buy a bare block one of the first things to think about is your water reticulation system. You need stock water as well as house water and making the right decisions at the start will save you money. How much water will you need? Where will it come from? Where to start when planning the design?

water saving tipsDespite NZ having a temperate climate with plenty of rainfall, water is still one of the most precious resources we have and we shouldn't take it for granted.
Many lifestyle farmers live with a restricted water supply including rural water schemes, trickle feed supply or roof water. For those of us who were brought up on seemingly unlimited town supply it can be a shock to even have to consider our water usage.

wateOne good thing about a serious drought is that it makes people in both town and country realise that if it doesn't rain, how very vulnerable we humans are, especially farmers who rely on pastures to make a living. Suddenly people are realising that water is a lot more important than oil - and that it too has a cost.

riparian stripA riparian strip is the piece of land alongside a river or stream. The name comes from the Latin word ‘ripa’, meaning a river bank, and it’s an important piece of land for lots of reasons. Caring for it well can improve water quality, help with soil conservation, minimise fertiliser runoff from pasture, and provide habitats for wildlife.

cattle drinkingAll animals require ready access to drinking water, particularly in hot dry weather.  Sheep, cattle and other ruminants have fluid-filled fore stomachs, and horses have a fluid-filled large intestine, so they must have water to keep their digestive systems operating well. In hot weather, all mammals lose water in their breath, and the rate of water loss is increased by panting and/or sweating.

septic tanksA septic tank is the main component in a small-scale sewage system that works with no connection to the main sewage pipes provided in most cities and small towns, and is common in New Zealand’s more remote areas. The term ‘septic’ refers to the anaerobic bacterial environment that develops in the tank as the waste discharged into it from the toilet and household sinks and basins decomposes.

One good thing about a serious drought is that it makes people in both town and country realise that if it doesn't rain, how very vulnerable we humans are, especially farmers who rely on pastures to make a living. Suddenly people are realising that water is a lot more important than oil - and that it too has a cost.

water troughsWhile the water trough in your paddock is just a very large drinking bowl, it comes with a lot of extra bits. Most of these are to control the flow of water into the trough and thus keep water always available for your animals while avoiding overflow and water loss. The trough itself can come in a wide range of shapes, sizes and materials. Your choice will be determined by the number and kind of stock you have, and the location of the trough in the paddock.

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