Farmers have been advised to locate and fix leaks as part of a new water guidance aimed at improving water quality and reducing water waste on farms.

Smart Farming has released tips for both conserving and protecting the quality of water on farms.

Smart Farming programme leader Thomas Cooney said the updated guidelines will help farmers improve farm returns and enhance the environment.

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Farmers are advised to study their water bill and compare usage to the farm’s average daily water use should be. This can be determined based off the number of animals and their daily water consumption.

Higher than average water use may be caused by a leak in the system.

Smart Farming is a resource run by the IFA along with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA),

Costs

A leaking ball-valve on a water trough can waste up to 33,000 gallons of water a year. Repairing such a leak would reduce a water bill by €170. A leaking tap can lead to the loss of up to 90 litres of water a day – replacing a washer at a cost of 70c could save a farm €36/year.

One farm in Co Cork replaced a leaking pipe at a cost of €450 – the old pipe was losing €1,840 worth of water every year.

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The guidance from Smart Farming says installing a water meter can help detect leakage and waste. It also advises farmers to reduce usage by recycling water.

Water quality

To protect water quality the document encourages farmers to:

  • Think about how the farmyard is plumbed to the local stream.
  • Take specific actions to reduce risks of water pollution and subsequent penalties.
  • Ensure that there is good drinking water quality, by properly constructing wells.
  • Mary Frances Rochford of the EPA said: “Clean water is essential to our health and wellbeing and conserving water is essential in the context of our changing climate. We must do more to halt deterioration in water quality so that we protect this most precious public resource.”

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