Skip to content

Drought proof stock water systems

By Lu Hogan, Armidale Node Manager

Planning, delivery capacity, storage capacity and knowing the needs of your livestock are the keys to installing efficient, and effective, water infrastructure.

GLENRAC recently hosted a stock water field day at Emmaville NSW, as part of the Armidale Node’s Best practice water infrastructure producer demonstration project where 23 farmers attended to learn about designing and building reliable droughtproof stock water systems.

As part of the localised participatory research project, field day host Geoff Coldham from Ben Vale has built two reliable water systems with back up storage and automated monitoring of tank levels. One pumps water from a bore using solar power, the other pumps from a river using a diesel motor with automatic start/shut off functionality.

On the day, local landholders heard from experts including Geoff Colvin and Matt Ryan (aquawest - design and build), Christopher Glanville (Station Innovation – ecoSAT telemetry and monitoring), and Pat Yeates (NSW Natural Resources Access Regulator - regulations and compliance).

The local graziers and experts identified several key points for installing an efficient livestock watering system:

  • plan, plan, plan for current and future needs. It is much harder to retrofit later than to do the build with future requirements in mind
  • get the professionals to help with the design
  • for cattle, design a system that will deliver two litres per second to the troughs
  • do not skimp on water storage. This is your backup if there is a breakdown
  • do not skimp on trough size or poly pipe size
  • well-designed solar pumping systems are reliable and effective and can lift water up to 150 metres, providing 15,000 litres/day
  • lactating ewes on dry grassland require between four and 10 litres of water per day
  • lactating cows on dry grassland require between 40 and 100 litres per day.

More information

For more information, contact Armidale Node Manager Lu Hogan: 0427 687 432 or email