The third article in Duncan McGilvray's series on irrigation looks at being self sufficient with your water supply and what is available to you.
The third in this series of articles will concentrate on the various choices you have in sourcing your own water. They are many and varied and it is worth the effort to find out what is practical and/or feasible. Invariably, you will find that there will be some, or in many cases, considerable, savings on cost over your present situation.
The worse case cost scenario is to buy your water from the local water authority. The cost is variable dependant on where you are in the country (international water sourcing is a book in its own right!). Generally, the water requirement to rainfall ratio will dictate the cost i.e South East - expensive, North West - less expensive (but never cheap!).
When analysing contracting costs look to recoup in water savings over a five to ten year period (easier to justify). However, in environmental and self sufficiency terms, you should really look at the longer term.
Self sufficiency is the ideal for the following reasons:
• Environmentally sound practice
• It is cost effective - you miss out the middle man
• Public perception will improve measurably
• You are in control
In all cases step one is how much water do you need? Once this is ascertained you can then research how you can satisfy that requirement.
• Reservoir/Pond/Lake - main considerations include site location and space/capacity required. Something else to consider is the ingress/egress of water supply (empty or stagnant reservoirs are not attractive)
• River - main considerations include flow rates for abstraction purposes and the possible impact on other users
• Bore Hole - main considerations include location, depth, effect on other possible users. In most cases you will pay a considerable sum before the decision is made to grant a licence to abstract - good research lessens the chance element
• Rain Harvesting - main considerations include the proposed area to be covered and measure of supply, from simple roof top collection to complicated drainage as well as any other supply route/source - storage and capacity sufficient for needs
Existing successes usually involve a combination of all, or some, of the above.
All of the sources require quality analysis, contact with the authorities (normally the Environment Agency, which now encompasses the defunct National Rivers Authority), in the first instance and sound advice.
Reputable companies will give you a free site visit to look at the feasibility of any self sufficiency project with no obligation. Following the company's short report you can then make the necessary decision to progress from an informed viewpoint.
There exists self sufficiency funding grants dependant on where you are in the country, and it is our belief that this will become more accessible and easier to source in future - it makes environmental, supply and political sense.
Water is vital to all life and, if not already, is becoming very expensive.
Sourcing water supply for irrigation purposes has, and will continue to, become more and more important as time goes by - acting now will ensure you find out what your possibilities are for the future.
Duncan McGilvray, Managing Director, Enviropro H2O Ltd. Email: firstname.lastname@example.org