Derbyshire dairy farm saves £’000’s a year with a borehole

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With water bills of over £10,000 a year, a borehole was installed on a Derbyshire dairy farm two years ago and is expected to pay for itself by the end of the third.  From then on water costs will only be maintenance and electricity.

Derbyshire dairy farm saves £’000’s a year with a borehole

The farm has a milking herd of 160 high yielding cows. Mains water costs of around £1.55/m3 (an average level for the country).

Water bills were around £12,000 to £14,000, but in 2012 a leak added £3,000.

The leak had not been detected until the bill arrived, which was caused by historic mine workings. This is not uncommon and leaks can double the water bills without any apparent signs of trouble.

Mending leaks can be a regular task on many farms with old water pipes and infrastructure.

The borehole was sunk last year to supply untreated water for livestock drinking and washing down. Mains water is still used for milking plant and in-parlour washing.

The borehole was sleeved to prevent contamination from surface pollutants leaking down the borehole. A self-cleaning filter system has been installed to deal with iron contamination.

The borehole head is located at ground level and protected by a concrete pipe. Insulation is provided to avoid frost damage.

Total cost was £12,500 including the pumps, control unit and buffer tank. The equipment is housed in an existing building with insulation and a frost protection heater.

Mains water can still be used as a back-up supply, but this would only be likely if the borehole supply failed, although the buffer tank would maintain supplies during repairs.

Borehole water may change in quality over time, so it is a good idea to have tests carried out to ensure there is nothing harmful in it.

Since installation, savings in water costs have been £6,000 in the first year.

Efficient Water Management workshops

ADAS are offering a number of workshops under the Rural Development Plan for England (RDPE), which will cover Efficient Water Management. Costs have been subsided by 70% Defra funding. Eligibility criteria apply. To see a full list of all available events, please visit the RDPE website.

For more information on whether a borehole or other alternative water supply could result in cost savings, please contact

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