Creating a fire department water source on-farm

In the past few weeks I’ve worked on several water projects for breed-wean sites. In several instances on-farm water storage was being added in response to water flow issues associated with the rural water district sources for the sites.

The issue with breed-wean sites is the huge water demand in the gestation barn each morning immediately after feeding, especially for crated gestating females. This very large demand for drinking water in a short period of time can put a big demand draw on a rural water system. The size of the ‘tap’ on the rural water system to meet this demand is large and comes with an associated larger water fee each month.

Many new and now remodeled breed-wean sites are installing water storage on-site, either as concrete cisterns buried in-ground or as above ground tanks. These are often sized based on 24 hour water needs. The incoming water line (either well water or rural water) is sized based on 24 hour flow to fill the storage device. This means the incoming line can be much smaller (i.e. cheaper for rural water ‘tap’ fee) and in the case of well water, a smaller diameter well may meet the needs of the site.

The reason I bring this up is that one advantage of on-site water storage that doesn’t get mentioned is fire insurance on the site. With the possibility of 40,000 gallons or more of water on-site, many insurance companies will give a substantial discount to the yearly insurance rate because the common limit to most rural fire fighting is access to water.

With on-site water storage, the addition of a fire department access point/device is all that is required. If your site uses a freshwater pond for a water source, or has a pond on the property, have you talked with your local fire department about identifying access points to this water in case of a fire? Doing so may result in quite a savings on your facility insurance.

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