Farmers urged to help mitigate water supply interruptions this summer

Monday 4 July 2022

With ever changeable weather, Severn Trent is urging farmers to complete a short risk analysis form, to help them stay informed on water supply interruptions and enable the water company to act quicker on providing alternative water sources to livestock.

Severn Trent’s catchment management and biodiversity business lead, Jodie Rettino, highlights that with hot weather fast approaching, livestock farmers need to continue to think ahead to try and avoid water supply challenges that may arise, and result in issues such as heat stress or reduced performance. 

“During prolonged periods of hot weather, we experience increased demand on our water network, but by making small changes at farm level, such as fixing a leaking tap or using rainwater storage bowsers, farmers can help avoid this posing a problem on their farms,” she says.

In a bid to support farmers in its region, Severn Trent has developed the SRSS (Site Risk and Sensitive Scheme) form, which will provide insight on water use on-farm.

“If we have this insight, when there’s a problem, we can keep our farmers informed, but also act on this quicker, by either fixing the problem or providing an alternative water source. 

“There are also a several things’ farmers can do to prepare for potential water shortage, such as prioritising use for essential livestock activities and hygiene. It’s also worth speaking to your farm neighbours, to see if there are any opportunities to share or trade water,” adds Dr Rettino. 

According to the Met Office, there is clear evidence that temperatures are on the rise for good, so it is important to be prepared for prolonged dry spells going forward.

“We’re committed to helping farmers where we can when it comes to water supply, but as a business that requires water to remain viable, they need to ensure they have 24 hours storage capacity.

“With this in mind, there’s no time like the present to consider investments that could result in improved water efficiency and environmental improvements, which in the long term should help prevent water shortages and save money,” says Dr Rettino. 

“For example, a rainwater harvesting system installed this autumn will collect water that can then be treated on-site to reduce reliance on mains water over the following summer, giving you peace of mind during future dry spells.” 

To help futureproof systems, Dr Rettino explains that farmers within a Severn Trent priority catchment can apply for up to £10,000 of match funding towards rainwater harvesting equipment on existing buildings.

The STEPS grant scheme is open now until 31 January 2023. However before starting the work, it is a legal requirement to notify Severn Trent by filling in the regulation 5 notification form, which can be found here:

To help mitigate supply problems, complete the SRSS form today: For help filling this in, please contact your local agricultural adviser. 

What to do in the event of a water 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 Severn Trent.

4. Contact Severn Trent on 0800 783 4444, the team will take some key information from you and then pass this to the Network Control team

5. Be prepared to describe your daily water requirements. Use the AHDB Dairy Water Audit to help. 

6. Severn Trent will endeavour to prioritise your farm and call you back as soon as possible