Irish Water is appealing to farmers to conserve water to safeguard critical supplies.

A water conservation order, or hosepipe ban, is in place for west Cork for four weeks. The order only applies to domestic settings.

“Use of water on farms does not fall under the water conservation order. However, we are appealing to the agricultural sector in the same way as other sectors to conserve water to safeguard critical supplies,” a spokesperson for Irish Water told the Irish Farmers Journal.

“Many farmers have their own wells and water sources, which may be affected by the warm and dry weather, and some farmers will use public water supplies to supplement these.

“We are also engaging with the farm organisations to provide necessary information and supports to farmers to conserve water."

How to conserve water on farms

Irish Water has issued a number of water conservation tips for farmers:

  • Fix troughs: watch out for overflowing drinking troughs, as they can waste significant amounts of water. Adjust the ball valves to lower the float or replace faulty parts.
  • Dry cleaning: save water when cleaning the yard by using dry-cleaning techniques. Use scrapers and brushes to remove solid waste from yards and pens before hosing. You can also use a small amount of water (for example, one bucket) to pre-soak waste before cleaning.
  • Clean plate cooler water: if you own a dairy farm, you can divert clean plate cooler water to a tank and use it for parlour washing.
  • Consider rainwater harvesting: rain from the roofs of farm buildings can be used for a variety of activities, such as washing down yards. Consider the level of rainwater quality required for specific water uses on the farm (for example, plant nurseries and field irrigation) and the surfaces and contamination risks before you consider installing appropriate rain water harvesting, treatment (filtration and UV) and storage systems.
  • Take action to protect water sources: avoid contamination of surface waters by reducing or eliminating access to livestock by fencing off watercourses. Pollution containing animal faeces can affect the water environment, nutrients and soil. Destroyed bank-side vegetation can also contribute to flooding.