Waterwise on the Farm (Version 2)

Step 5: Create, implement and review your waterwise action plan

Creating your plan

Once you have identified which measures you intend to carry out, you should draw up a basic waterwise action plan. This should include:

  • how you plan to save water;
  • targets for water savings;
  • targets for financial savings;
  • who is responsible for each action.

An example of a simple waterwise action plan is given in Table 4 (page 32).

Actions should be detailed in full and placed in order of priority for implementation, starting with the most cost effective measures.

Implementing your plan

Make sure that your waterwise action plan addresses the following issues:

  • staff, family and contractors are aware of the need to save water;
  • timing of improvements;
  • routine maintenance checks;
  • monitoring and reviewing progress.

Gaining support from others and promoting successes are just as important as gathering data and setting targets. By involving everyone in the waterwise action plan you can achieve continuous improvements.

Starting with simple and low cost actions will help to build enthusiasm and demonstrate the benefits of being waterwise.

You should also think about your waterwise action plan in the context of other management plans covering nutrients, soil, crop protection and manure.

Reviewing your plan

You should review and update your waterwise action plan at least once a year. Compare your actual savings with expected savings. Review actions that have not achieved the savings you expected, to find out any problems.

Top tip: drain check

After a period without rain, check your drains to see if they are still wet. If they are, then it may be that a leak is flowing into them or that they are blocked.

Case Study

Water Efficiency Awards Finalist: Palmstead Nurseries
A recycling system was constructed to harvest all drainage water on the site of this Kent nursery, which produces a million container shrubs each year. Rainwater from building roofs and run-off from container standing beds is now transferred by pipe to a holding lagoon, pumped into a 27,300m³ reservoir and then used for irrigation. This has resulted in:

  • water consumption cut by 58 per cent;
  • savings of £30,000 per year;
  • payback periods of 4 to 5 years.

Calculating pay back periods

To determine a payback period of a water-saving action (for example fitting trigger nozzles to two hosepipes) you will need to estimate the annual savings and potential maintenance cost.

Payback period (in years) = capital cost (£) / (annual savings (£) - annual maintenance costs (£))


Capital cost = 2 trigger nozzles at £10 each = £20.
Annual savings = 10 minutes less use of the hose per day at 30 litres a minute = 109,500 litres per year
= 109.5m³ per year. At a price of 85p per m³ = £93.08 per year.

Annual maintenance costs = 5 minutes check and clean (for both nozzles) per month = 5 x 12 months = 1 hour per year. At a staff cost of £15 per hour = £15 per year.

Payback period = £20 = £20 = 0.25 of a year = 3 months £93.08 - £15 £78.08


This does not include any savings in dirty water disposal costs or improved efficiency in cleaning due to having a better water jet.

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