Water Advice

Planning to lay some new water pipes ? Well if you are we recomend you contact a qualified plumer but in the meantime the following might be of interest. The information contained here was mainly taken from United Utilities website and if you find any of the information is outdated or simply wrong then please let us know

Laying the Pipe

Trenches: These should be lined with sand or selected soft earth, not rubble. They should also be wide enough for the pipework. Please keep a minimum distance of 350mm away from other services such as gas, electricity etc.

 Pipes laid over an underground obstruction.

 Pipes laid under an underground obstruction.

 over obstruction pipe  under obstruction pipe

From personal experience I recommend keeping connectors to a minimium but where necessary leave an access cover.  I have found leaks are more lightly to be found where connectors are placed and it is much easier to lift a manhole cover to conduct an inspection or perform a repair rather than having to rip up your yard each time you suspect a leak. I have also found it benificial to install a number of stop valves to isolate water supply to disused areas of the farm during the winter months or periods when there is no stock in the fields.

Water Pipe entering a building

house pipe


Where a water pipe enters a building or runs underneath a building etc, it must be located inside a suitable duct. The correct size ducting is 100mm (4”) diameter pipe. (Usually plastic but can be other materials if suitable.) There must not be any markings for other utilitie es on the duct, such as gas, electricity, telecom etc.  Joints/fittings cannot be used on the new water supply pipe when inside a duct. However joints can be used on pipes in a trench outside of a duct.  Where a pipe enters a building inside a duct it may need to be insulated. Insulation on the new pipe should be water resistant ‘closed cell’ tubular design of a suitable wall thickness. Once a pipe is inside the property, you do not need to fit insulation unless it is located in an unheated area such as under floors, in loft spaces, or in other areas such as garages or any rooms without heating.  It is essential that pipes entering buildings below ground level are sealed against the entry of fluids, vermin and insects.

Where the incoming pipe has less than 750mm of ground cover or the pipe enters the building at a distance of less than 750mm from the external face of the wall; or passes through an airspace below an internal suspended lower floor, the water pipe should be insulated with suitable insulation before being passed through the duct .  Where compliance with the minimum cover of 750mm is impractical, the water fittings should be installed as deep as is practicable below the finished ground level and be adequately protected against damage from freezing and from any other cause.

The following extract was taken from Northern Ireland Water Advice For Winter  with advice on reducing damage to water pipes on farm and to help reduce expensive leaks.

There are a number of ways we can prevent problems from occurring or minimising their impact if they happen including:

  • ·         Ensure that you have good understanding of the layout of pipework within your property and keep a map of the line of this pipework;
  • ·         Know where your stop valves are located;
  • ·         Ideally, install a number of stop valves to isolate water supply to disused areas of the farm;
  • ·         Ensure that you have a supply of the relevant fittings to repair any leakages;
  • ·         Know where your meters are located (We will help you to do this if asked – check out the contacts tab) and check them on a regular basis.  A higher reading may indicate a leak which should be located and repaired as quickly as possible to reduce water bills;

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 at the

  • ·         meter or installing a stop valve for the trough (or field) so you turn off the supply without having to do so at the meter.  Consider draining troughs;
  • ·         Where practical ensure all underground pipes are buried 750 millimetres (2½ feet) below ground level.
  • ·         Ensure any pipes within buildings are insulated, where appropriate, taking account of the presence of any livestock;
  • ·         Fix dripping taps – a gentle trickle of water can freeze and completely block the pipe;
  • ·         Examine the adequacy of storage in the event of a supply problem.  At least 24 hours storage is recommended;
  • ·         Write down the name and contact details of a registered plumber in case a pipe does burst.

The following extract is from

There are a number of simple steps that can be taken that will prevent nasty surprises when it comes to the cost of supplying water to your farm.

Identify all your sources of water on the farm. Possible water sources include:

    • Mains water supplied by your local authority.
    • Water abstracted from rivers, streams, springs or wells.
    • On-farm ponds or other winter-stored water.
    • Re-used water, such as plate cooling water or harvested rainwater.

Monitor meters

    • Set up a routine for monitoring water use.
    • If your water is metered, you should read and record every water meter on the farm regularly, ideally at least once a month.
    • This will alert you to any fluctuations in water use and indicate a problem such as a leaking pipe or a faulty ballcock in a water trough.
    • It may also alert you to problems with your pipes, such as blockages.
    • Consider recording your meter reading during the night time period.
    • Has more water passed through the meter than would be expected overnight? If so, this indicates that you have a leak in your network that will need to be located.

Tips on reducing water consumption

    • During field walking/stock checking, check all taps and water troughs in the farmyard and in outlying fields.
    • Consider using dry cleaning techniques, such as scrapers, squeegees and brushes to remove solid waste from yards and pens before they are cleaned with water. This will reduce the amount of water used, as well as the quantity of dirty water requiring treatment, storage and spreading.
    • Fit self-closing trigger nozzles to hosepipes which will help you to eliminate wastage when the hose is unattended.
    • Consider pre-soaking before milking. It can take a lot of water and effort to clean your parlour after milking. However, if you use a small amount of water to lightly wet the parlour first, the dung will stick less, reducing the amount of water that you will need to use to clean after milking.
    • Only use high quality water where required. Animals should always be provided with a quality clean water supply. However, rain water and used water should be targeted for washing down yards.
    • Rain collected from the roofs of farm buildings can be re-used for a variety of activities, including washing down yards and stock watering.
    • Sections of pipework or troughs that are not in use over the winter should be isolated and drained to prevent frost damage that could result in a leak when they are refilled. If an above-ground pipe is in constant use, it should be insulated.
    • When burying pipes, ensure that they are at a sufficient depth. Consider insulating pipes when burying them.
    • A leaking ball-valve in a water trough can waste up to 150 cubic metres of water (33,000 gallons) per year. A fractured ball-valve can waste up to 2,000 cubic metres (440,000 gallons),which is enough water to meet the drinking requirements of 80 cows in milk for a whole year.