Can rainwater harvesting be used to supply drinking water for animals in locations where there is no mains supply? The answer is yes, and it’s not as complicated as you might think.
In many rural areas, there is a requirement for drinking water for animals e.g. small patches of land, single fields, remote locations etc. It is often prohibitively expensive to install a connection to the mains water supply, and even if you do, you then have on-going water costs. Instead, this solution offers a low-cost, permanent and automatic supply to the water trough.
What Equipment Do I Need?
All that’s needed is a shelter building to collect the water from, a filter to clean the rainwater, and an above-ground tank to store it in.
The amount of water supplied will depend on the roof area that the water is collected from, and the annual rainfall amount. A 10m by 10m barn will collect more than 80m3 a year of water in the south of the UK, and much more than this in higher rainfall areas. That is probably enough annually for four horses, for example, if all of it is stored efficiently.
How Does It Work?
An efficient gutter and single down pipe system with a filter collector supplies the rainwater to an adjacent water tank. This tank must be situated above the level of the trough to allow for gravity feed.The tank must also include an inlet flow calming device, which can be as simple as the inlet pipe going to the bottom of the tank and then having a U bend up, so any sediment on the bottom is not stirred up.
The overflow is an upturned U bend pipe near the top of the tank. Any small organic material that passes through the filter, such as pollen grains, will float to the top of the tank. In high rainfall, when the tank overflows, this debris is then skimmed off, ensuring that only clean, clear water is stored.
The water supply to the trough is taken from slightly above the bottom of the tank, to ensure that any sediment is not disturbed. This clean water can then be fed directly to the trough ball valve, making the supply fully automatic.
Examples of suitable equipment.
The tank can be almost anything, provided it is clean, robust and has a closed top. If it is a re-purposed vessel, make sure it has not previously been used for harmful substances, and has been thoroughly cleaned. A great many new plastic tanks are readily available at relatively low cost.Of course it is easier to buy a purpose-built rainharvesting tank with integral pipework. Here at Rainharvesting Systems, we can advise and supply a range of sizes and styles.
The filter collector should be easy to open for maintenance purposes, and ideally have a cleanable filter insert, removing the need for buying replacement cartridges. The Wisy® ‘FS’ downpipe filter will remove particles down to 280 microns, and is sturdily built from high-grade stainless steel.
The sheet roof or collection area can be of any size but ideally needs to be made of a clean, non-absorbent material.
As you can see, it is fairly simple to set up a basic rainwater collection system in a location where there is no mains water or power available. Providing there is a suitable roof from which to collect the water, all that’s needed is the addition of a tank and filter, plus some basic plumbing skills. You can then create a useful supply of clean rainwater that livestock will find far more palatable than chlorinated mains water!
Find out more by chatting to one of our team on 01452 772000, or send an email to . More information about rainwater harvesting systems, including design considerations can be found in our guide Everything You Need To Know About Choosing A Rainwater Harvesting System. Access a free download today by clicking here.