The cost of water supplied by Irish Water now ranges from €1.05 to €1.87/m3.1
The top tips below will help you to save money and protect the environment by helping you to conserve water and focus on improving water quality on the farm.
Study your Water Bill – It Could Highlight a Problem!
If your water is supplied from a source such as a group water scheme, you will get water statements each year which includes the amount and cost of the water you use.
How much does a drip cost?3
Spend 70 cents on a replacement washer for a tap - it could save you €36 on your water bill in one year.
Most water losses are due to simple problems with small appliances.
For example, replacing a washer at a cost of 70 cents on a dripping tap losing 90 litres per day can save you €36 per year.
Repairing a leaking ball-valve on a trough will save up to 150 cubic metres (33,000 gallons) a year4 . This will reduce your water bill by almost €170.
Finding leaks in buried pipes can be problematic. Where there are several pipes being fed through one meter, consider installing an isolation valve at the head of each line so that a pipe with a leak can be quickly identified.
Consider taking photographs as pipes are being laid and include the layout of water pipes on your farm maps. It will be a help in leak detection. Sometimes replacement of pipe work is necessary. Replacing a leaking pipe on a County Cork farm cost €450. The old pipe was losing 2,700 cubic metres per year, at a cost of €1,840.
Install a Water Meter – It Will Detect Leakage & Waste
A water meter can be a useful demand management tool and be the first indicator of a water leak.
To find out if you are losing water, turn off all water appliances and then check each meter. If the meter is still turning, then you have leaks. If it’s not turning but your costs seems too high, this may be down to wastage through simple things like leaving a tap running.
A running tap can use up to 10 litres (2.2 gallons) of water a minute3.
Carry out regular checks on the flow of water into particular fields or group of fields. Drain unused drinkers in winter. Turn off field connections at the meter box when animals are off the land.
Future Proof Your Water Pipes
Leak prevention is more cost effective than paying for lost water or repairing leaks that have occurred.
Insulate exposed pipes and buy quality plumbing fittings. It will save money and grief!
Sub-standard fittings on a drinking trough are liable to blow, resulting in substantial water loss. By the same token, exposed pipes will inevitably freeze and this may result in a costly rupture in addition to the loss (albeit temporary) of your water supply.
When planning excavation works, be sure to consult the map of your pipe-work, so as to avoid severing a water line.
Reduce use by Recycling Water
While the pay-back period on proprietary rainwater harvesting systems is long (especially if retrofitting), it makes environmental sense.
Rain water harvesting from the roof of a farm building can be used for hosing the floor of a dairy parlour, cattle shed or farmyard and may also be suitable for animal consumption. It can also be used for cooling milk.
If water is being used for washing, use a scraper or brush to remove solid wastes from yards and pens before hosing.
Rinse small equipment in a bucket of water rather than using a hosepipe.
Commission for the Regulation of Utilities, 2019. Irish Water’s Non-Domestic Tariff Framework.
Data provided by the National Federation of Group Water Schemes.
Environment Agency 2007. Waterwise on the Farm – Version 2. A simple guide to implementing a water management plan. Environment Agency, Bristol, UK.
Cork County Council – Water Conservation for Farms.