Rainwater Recovery System

Rainwater Recovery

At Brow Farm while we do care for our own environment and the wider environment around us. This can only improve it if what we do is to the benefit to the farm and the farms bottom line. Environmentally managed farming can only be achieved if we are able to pay for the labour, equipment, and resources it takes to take any changes to a system. These changes or improvements as we would like to think they are going to be, need to paid for  themselves by either adding profitable to the farm, or by lowering the farms inputs. The latter of the two would seem to be the first return we have seen on most of the projects we have done so far,  This is then carried forward either short or long term to pay for the cost of the labour, equipment used to complete the work.

So we looked into fitting more rainwater recovery systems on the farm. One new system harvests rainwater for our bird housing. A cleaning process means that our birds have safe drinking water.

Rainwater from the roofs of our main farm buildings is already diverted to a two-acre lake. That system has been in place for over ten years and enables us to irrigate salad and vegetable crops grown on the farm. For the new project we decided to use the roofs of the rearing and breeder sheds along with Dutch barn where the yearling birds are kept.(shown in pictures). This large area collects enough water to supply the livestock year-round and provide

A photo of our rainwater recovery system building in progress with one tank in situ
Work in progress.

The Process

We wanted to use a low-pressure gravity system compatible with all our nipple drinkers. So we chose a spot at the top of a gentle slope for the water to be stored and processed. A concrete plinth to support the tw0 35,000 litre storage tanks was cast and the tank placed on top. Between them we sited a small storage shed with an electricity supply; the control shed. Our aviaries are on opposite sides of a path between them, so we fitted two small water tanks within the shed. Each tank supplies one group of buildings. This way we can medicate one or other groups of birds using the individual tanks as needed.

We installed new guttering all around the buildings. These drain into a downpipe that slopes gently from the far end to the large storage tank. Lesson learned here – never assume that your buildings are level. We found that our building sloped away from the storage tank by 150mm and had to compensate.

The next challenge was cleaning the water. The solution, a filter and UV chamber  fitted to the outlet of the main storage tank.

How It Works

A control panel is initiated by the low-level float switch which activates the UV filter and starts a timer – this cleans the static water in the filter. The timer then switches on the solenoid valve and pump. Water is through a filter that removes small pumped into the main water tank until the high-level float switch is activated which turns off the pump, solenoid and UV filer. As water is drunk by the birds the water level drops, the low-level float switch comes on, and it all starts again.

A photo of the completed project with 2 water tanks and a control shed between them
The completed project. Two water tanks with a control shed between them.