Save £1,000 on your water bill by correct harvesting of rainwater
Rainwater harvesting topped the list of recommendations made in action plans for hundreds of South West farms in 2012 – which was the wettest year on record for the UK.
In the South West, where the cost of mains water is reported to be higher than any other region in England, almost 1,000 farm enterprises which had their on-farm resources reviewed by specialist Resource Efficiency for Farmers (R4F) advisers were recommended to consider investing in rainwater harvesting technology to cut the use of mains water and their water bills.
R4F advisers were called in by farmers to review, free of charge, how much water and energy they use and give technical and practical advice on how they could become more energy efficient and reduce their costs.
Over 2,000 individual farm visits were made by the R4F advisory team up to September 2012. The scheme, delivered by Rural Focus and funded by Defra's Rural Development Programme for England, runs until winter 2013.
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Head of Rural Focus, David Hynd, said: "Some farm enterprises, such as dairy farms, have little choice but to use significant volumes of water to carry out their core activity.
"From our farm visits it would appear that many farms have scope to achieve significant savings by making changes to how they carry out farming operations and by investing in new technologies.
"Rainwater harvesting is a good opportunity for many farms. Savings on a water utility bill is around £1 per cubic metre of rainwater harvested and an added benefit is reducing water running across yards or entering the dirty water tank. Farms could make an annual financial saving of over £1,000 if they used rainwater instead of mains water supplies. Farms also have shown good potential to adopt renewable-energy technology with land area for wind turbines and ground or shed-roof mounted solar PV panels.
"This achieves more independence in energy supply as a sound business decision. The use of equipment such as heat exchangers and variable speed vacuum pumps has also featured highly on the action plans to reduce energy use."
R4F advisers carry out free detailed assessments of the amount of electricity, gas, fuel, oil and water used on the farms and how non-organic waste materials, like plastics, are managed and disposed.
For more information about Rural Focus services visit www.ruralfocus.info or phone 08456 047047.