Water supply & Irrigation

Water supply & Irrigation

Type of water supply

Deer farm water sources range from direct stock access to waterways to takes from rivers/lakes, springs and groundwater (bores).  Regardless of natural water supply or man-made irrigation, both require good paddock management for different soil types, fertilizer practices, animal effluent run off, location of troughs, runoff pathways etc. to protect our soil and water from negative environmental consequences. These potential effects and risks are addressed in the various sections under Land and Environment Planning.

Piped water supplies

In the past, on many deer farms, deer have been given access to springs, dams, streams, rivers and lakes to meet their water needs. This can still be appropriate on high country properties where stocking densities are low.  However, it is now accepted that giving deer access to waterways can have negative effects on water quality. It is best practice – and increasingly required by regional councils – for waterways to be fenced off. This means water troughs need to be installed in all paddocks, fed by a reticulated (piped) water supply system.

Calculate the capacity of the supply system on the basis of deer water requirements >> It pays to provide spare capacity in the water supply system to cater for possible future management changes, such as changes in the stock classes.  Position troughs on well-drained sites, preferably on raised rock/shingle platforms 300-400 mm high, away from areas where deer gather. Refer to List of recommendations for managing wallowing in water troughs on page 18 of the Landcare Manual.

Where rainfall is limited, irrigation may be required for reliable pasture growth. Best management practice for irrigation is underpinned by site-specific farm knowledge. Each paddock has unique soil characteristics and topography which need to be taken into account when irrigating to ensure maximum efficiency. Although there are guidelines around application rates and irrigator types, irrigator performance is determined by the operator, the value of the farmer's environmental knowledge about his or her own farm should not be under-estimated.

Many forms of water takes require a resource consent, especially in regions where water supply is finite, so contact your regional council for advice.