FARMING MATTERS: Concern for cattle as water supply is gone

Cattle drink a lot of water. Dairy cows in particular drink a considerable quantity, but even beef cattle can consume five gallons a day.

So if there is a water leak and the water stops coming into the farm the consequences are not a happy prospect.

We recently suffered a prolonged lack of water when there was a considerable leak in the area where we live. The water was switched off early in the morning and remained off until very late into the night.

We discovered the problem when we woke up and nothing came out of the cold water tap. My husband immediately went over to the farmyard to check if the water was running there - and found that it wasn’t.

Conversations with neighbours revealed that Thames Water were working on a major problem.

At first we were told the problem would be rectified by 11.30am, so didn’t worry too much. But by late afternoon there was still no water and our neighbour told us there was a water station where we could collect bottled water. This was useful for domestic purposes, but obviously no good for the cattle.

Chatting with the Thames Water workmen on site, they were facing multiple additional problems as further leaks extended the site of the problem to houses in several nearby villages. Within our own village, not only were houses affected, but also the local brewery, several farms and a care home, where emergency supplies of water had been delivered.

By the end of the day all the water toughs in the buildings and the fields, which are on ball taps and therefore usually fill automatically, were empty. My husband spoke with the workmen and they confirmed that if the problem persisted into a second day a water tanker would deliver water for the cattle.

But thankfully, as we went to bed, with bottles of water to brush our teeth, the cold water tap suddenly came back on. We are grateful to the workmen who worked so long and so hard for hours on end to repair the faults.