An Update from Severn Trent Water for livestock farms

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Recent weeks have seen extended dry spells, with swathes of the UK basking in the hottest days of the year so far writes Severn Trent Water. With little rain forecast in the coming weeks, Severn Trent is urging farmers to look ahead and plan for the potentially dry summer weeks to come.  

With increasing demand on the network, we are encouraging as many farms to make even small changes which can make all the difference, from changing a leaking tap to using rainwater storage bowsers.

If you haven’t yet, think about installing sufficient, clean storage facilities to receive alternative water supplies, such as those delivered by tanker.

Following on from the dry weather in 2018:

• If you were a farm that was affected during the last period of prolonged dry weather, and made contact with us – we are currently trying to proactively contact you.
• Many farms that sought help during this period were given specific advice from our Regs and Fittings teams, or our Customer Contingency team, we are hoping many of the farms consulted have taken steps to implement these measures.
• We have also taken steps to improve our internal processes, so that our call centre is briefed to help farms should they contact us…
• Each farm contact will be recorded, and we will endeavour to get back to you as soon as possible. Our Customer Contingency team are on standby and fully understand the challenges that livestock farms face in dry weather and the heat.


What you should do in the event of a supply interruption:

1. Identify the source of the issue. Are you on a public or private water supply system?
2. Find out if the issue is localised. Is it just your farm or the wider area?
3. Contact your water retailer to let them know, they should also contact us.
4. Contact Severn Trent on 0800 783 4444 our team will take some key information from you and then pass this to our Network Control team.
5. Be prepared to describe your daily water requirements. Use the AHDB Dairy Water Audit to help.
6. We will endeavour to prioritise your farm and call you back as soon as possible.

In the meantime, Severn Trent ask that you:

• Try and reduce your non-essential water usage and prioritise water use only for essential livestock activities and hygiene
• Speak to your farm neighbours to see if there are any opportunities to share or trade water
• Depending how long your supply is interrupted, you may need to consider alternative options from specialist companies.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q. If I have no water do I need to speak to my retailer who I pay my water bill to?
A. You should let your retailer know that you are having an issue with your water supply. Your retailer will also be in touch with us to let us know.

Q. So, then what happens after I’ve told my retailer and if I have no water supply or have low water pressure?
A. Please call our Operational Centre on 0800 783 4444

Q. What will you need to know when I call in?
A. Our call centre is a general call centre, and our agents are not specialists in agriculture… they will ask you some questions that you may feel are not relevant, but please bear with us…

As well as your contact details and location, the team will also need to know the following:

  • What is your water usage/consumption (please look on your bill) and if you know it your average daily consumption?
  • Number of meters on your site
  • Is livestock kept on site
  • Livestock type & numbers
  • Can you access alternative supply?(river/stream/pond/lake)
  • Do you have storage tanks/capacity?
  • Do you know the capacity of tank in litres
  • Are there tanks for potable/non potable water?
  • If you have storage is it accessible for a 15 tonne tanker? Restrictions on gate access/concrete tracks?
  • Any other information you feel may be helpful?

    Q. How quickly can you get water to my farm?
    A. We follow regulatory guidance – and we use this to prioritise everyone that is affected. Category 1 – hospitals and prisons,
    Category 2 – schools, care homes and vulnerable people,
    Category 3 – domestic households and livestock.

    Q. How long will it take for someone to contact me back?
    A. We will endeavour to contact you as soon as possible, but we cannot guarantee a timed response.

    Q. How quickly will I get water? Do we have a response time?
    A. Unfortunately, it will depend on how many people are in the first 2 categories and they are classed as more sensitive.

    Q. If there is a long water shortage what will happen?
    A. We will always endeavour to keep supplies going and will continue with alternative supplies such as tankers for as long as possible….

    Q. Can you guarantee a delivery of water for my farm?
    A. Nothing is guaranteed, its only reasonable endeavours and with hot, dry weather it is likely that multiple areas will be affected, and then we have to prioritise tankers as we see fit. It also depends how big the surrounding area is and how densely populated.

    We will always help where we can, but as a business that requires water as a critical part of their business then you should ensure that you have 24 hours storage/capacity.

    Simon Fisher, East Midlands Region Environment Adviser says that having a plan in place if your farm loses access to water is essential. Have you got one? There is a guide on NFU Online put together with the AHDB and Water UK which shares useful advice and explains the support you can expect from your supplier. Link to NFU Online article here.


  • Posted by: Geoff LowePosted on: 22/08/2020 10:18:01

    Comment: The UK has a problem each year with either drought or flooding. Is there not a solution that could be found that would balance and reduce these conditions. Drought is a shortage of water at a specific time, Flooding is a surplus of water at a specific time.
    Because of the laws of gravity, the source of water on high ground moves with force to the lower grounds. Slowing or controlling this flow by conservation measures with reservoirs on the high ground, would be a two fold benefit by easing the volume of water during heavy rainfall, and having available water to use during drought periods.
    Possible incentives for high land farmers to diversify using identified land areas as reservoirs for a land rental income would be beneficial to the environment and to all who suffer the consequences of Flooding and Drought in the UK countryside.

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