All farms in Alberta require a safe and dependable supply of good water. To accomplish this goal requires some planning. Start by estimating the average daily water requirements and annual water requirements.
A reliable, constant supply of good quality water is an essential part of any livestock enterprise. Automatic waterers are standard equipment on most farms because of their convenience and efficiency. They consist of an insulated base and a heated bowl that automatically fills with water from a pressurized line. A float-operated valve controls the level of the water in the bowl. A thermostat, set at 4 to 6° C, regulates the water temperature in the bowl.
Water is the main constituent of the animal’s body, constituting 50 to 80 percent of the liveweight, depending on age and degree of fatness. An animal can lose almost all of its fat and about 50 per cent of its body protein and survive. However, the loss of 10 per cent of its body water can be fatal. Therefore, a successful livestock enterprise requires a good water supply. A good water supply is defined both in terms of quantity and quality of the water. A good water supply is important to the livestock manager because total water intakes are positively related to feed dry matter (DM) intakes.
No matter the size of a livestock watering system, proper planning and design play an important role in its effectiveness. Good installation cannot compensate for an inadequate water source. Good quality water and sufficient quantity are both vital to livestock. Dugout and off-stream livestock watering systems are an important tool in protecting water sources, riparian areas and livestock.