Handy ways on how to protect your farm as winter approaches

Rebecca Allen, NI Water Catchment Liaison Officer advises farmers to use NI Water's yellow tags to label their stop tap, in the event of a burst pipe
Rebecca Allen, NI Water Catchment Liaison Officer advises farmers to use NI Water's yellow tags to label their stop tap, in the event of a burst pipe

With winter ahead, NI Water and the Ulster Farmers’ Union (UFU), are urging farmers to protect their property and follow a ‘two step pipe check’; check if pipes are insulated and if they are, ensure the insulation is adequate and still provides protection.

Des Nevin, NI Water’s director of customer service delivery explained: “Over 60% of NI Water’s non domestic customers are classified as farms, so it is an important consumer group for us.

“Farms can also be among our most vulnerable group 
if they lose their water 
supply.

“The effects of dealing with the aftermath of a burst pipe on a farm cannot be underestimated. 

“Water is the single most important requirement for livestock.

“On a dairy farm, livestock drinking water accounts for between 50% and 75% of the farm’s water usage.

“It is therefore vital farmers have a clean constant supply of water.”

UFU president Ivor Ferguson said: “The UFU is pleased to work in conjunction with NI Water to encourage farmers to prepare for the winter ahead. 

“Now is the time to check pipes, water fittings and take the necessary steps to ensure farms are protected against cold weather.

“There are a number of ways farmers can protect their property including:

r Check meters on a regular basis. A higher reading may indicate a leak which should be located and repaired as quickly as possible;

r Ensure that you have good understanding of the layout of pipework within your land;

r Consider mapping the line of the pipework, which can extend over several acres of land;

r Know where your stop valves are located;

r Ideally, install a number of stop valves to isolate water supply to disused areas of the farm during the winter months;

r Check for and repair any leakage promptly to reduce water bills, which are a major liability for a working farm;

r Inspect remote troughs which may not be used at this time of year, particularly the exposed pipe leading into the trough; if cattle are inside consider turning the supply to the trough off;

r Ensure all underground pipes are buried 750 millimetres below ground level.

r Ensure any pipes within buildings are insulated.

r Examine the adequacy of storage in the event of a supply problem.

NI Water recommends at least 24 hours storage.