Dairy

water restrictions now apply

Level 1 water restrictions now apply. 

While the majority of customers should be able to accommodate these restrictions, we recognise that some businesses rely on outdoor water use for continuity of operations. Water use for critical business activities may be exempt from restrictions. 

Find more detailed information on your obligations as a business during Level 1 water restrictions or to apply for an exemption.


Many dairy farmers have already made significant water efficiency gains in recent times. Here's how to improve water use on dairy farms.

Evaluate Water Use on Your Farm

This will help you determine where the most water is used on your farm, and help identify leaks and losses (evaporation or seepage). A great way to do this is through the installation of sub-meters and real time monitoring. For assistance with sub-metering and real time monitoring please contact Stephen Askew, Water Management Engineer on 02 4979 9535 or email stephen.askew@hunterwater.com.au.

Preventing water loss (i.e. through fixing leaks, etc.) is the easiest, most cost effective and least work intensive way to save water.

Once you know where your water is used and where it is lost, you can begin to develop a strategy to save it. If you can't measure it, you can't manage it!


Whole Farm Planning

Efficient grazing practices, effective irrigation design and irrigation scheduling are important elements of good farm management.

‘Whole farm planning’ can improve overall efficiency. It involves looking at farm layout, water supply, and potential opportunities for water conservation given the particular conditions of your farm site (soil type etc).

There are also courses available in whole farm planning. To find a course, check with your local TAFE.


Save Irrigation Water

You can do this by:

  • Developing an Irrigation and Drainage Management Plan for the whole farm.
  • Monitoring soil moisture levels to prevent over watering.
  • Building an on-site water storage facility so that gravity fed water can be stored when it is not needed.
  • Preventing leakage from distribution channels.
  • Using sprinkler irrigation systems instead of flood irrigation.
  • Installing a drainage system that collects runoff water for re-use.

Saving Water in Dairy Sheds

Saving water in the dairy sheds requires only small behavioural changes that can have a large impact on overall water use: 

  • Sweep floors and alleys before washing down to greatly reduce the amount of water needed.
  • Yards and floors should be sloped to facilitate easy solids removal.
  • Periodic automatic flushing of the yards during milking will make the clean–up quicker and easier.
  • Consider collecting water from the roof for the plate cooler system or washing the floor of the shed.
  • Plate cooler water can be supplied from rainwater tanks and either recycled through a storage tank, or used for wash down.
  • Use a high pressure hose to clean more quickly, thoroughly and with less water.
  • In the washing down of sheds after milking, nutrient-rich wastewater is created. Reuse of this wastewater (e.g. applying to pasture) can potentially save 96 per cent of the water and 98 per cent of the nutrients in the wastewater.