Farming and animal husbandry as an industry consumes considerable volumes of water; not just for livestock drinking water but also for general cleaning purposes such as hosing down vehicles or cleaning pathways and sleeping quarters. Depending on the type of establishment (e.g. dairy, beef cattle, stud farm etc.) consumption per animal can be as high as 120 litres per day. For a large number of animals over 365 days, this adds up to a big chunk of hard earned profits.
Rainwater harvesting has been around for a long time but it has taken the impact of mains water costs to raise its profile for farming and other commercial and industrial applications. Modern technology has helped greatly, with advances in filtration systems, pumping and storage facilities leading to slicker and lower maintenance systems becoming available. This is a good time, therefore, to consider adopting free rainfall for animal use, as in this case study.
The Basics Of Rainwater Harvesting Systems
There are many systems on the market and it is a good idea to speak with experts in the industry such as Rainharvesting Systems, the UK’s oldest established vendor. We can assess your requirements, inspect your buildings and advise on the best options to maximise your yield and investment.
All commercial systems may have these basic elements:
- Collection from roofs and initial filtration of rough debris
- Optional further filtration to remove contaminants above, for example, 5 microns
- Storage tanks with overflow features
- Optional ultra violet disinfection to nullify microbial elements and pathogens to make sure the water is safe for drinking
- A pump or system of pumps to distribute the water to application points
- Mains backup in case the system runs dry
Rainwater harvesting is also perfectly suited to supplying animal drinking water to locations where there is no mains supply.
Is Harvested Rainwater Safe For Animals To Drink?
When you consider where animals would naturally drink from (streams, watercourses, lying water etc.) and the range of potential contaminants that they might contain, you may well ask if UV filtration and decontamination is really necessary. Where rooftops are relatively new and clean, then there may be little contamination from the likes of bird droppings but there will always be some element of impurities. It really is up to the individual to decide what risk levels they are prepared to accept, balanced by the cost savings in not achieving full drinking quality.
Cost Savings And Return On Investment (ROI)
Public mains supply water is a significant overhead with rates being set individually by the UK’s 26 water supply companies. One cubic meter = 1,000 litres and costs somewhere in the region of £1.50 depending on your water supply company. While the costs of rainwater harvesting system vary depending on what you want to achieve and the volume of water you can collect and use, payback times are estimated as being between 5 and 10 years, after which your water is free. Farm buildings generally offer a large roof surface area for rainfall harvesting purposes. Allied to a sensible storage capacity, there is ample raw material to collect which varies depending on which part of the country you live in.
Grants And Assistance
CAP schemes change and, at time of writing, Brexit looms large on the immediate horizon. Consult a professional system vendor for guidance on what assistance is currently available for improvement such as installing a rainwater harvesting system.
It’s always best to seek professional advice when considering installing a rainwater harvesting system for any domestic, commercial or farming/livestock application. Contact us today for a free initial consultation and to help take your idea to the next stage.