Off Stream Watering

Our grant from East Gippsland Catchment Management Authority and East Gippsland Water included funds for “Off Stream Watering”. These funds are to be used for installation of an off stream watering system to support our cattle.

After much thought and research due to the challenges that we face at the property including no power, significant elevation from the river to a water tank and the inability for us to locally manage, requiring independent operation, David’s creative brain kicked into gear.

Fresh river water is a much better solution for stock compared to dam water. Also having two sources of water available to our stock is imperative for sustainability in drought situations. We are looking to ensure that our stock have access to fresh water as a first option.

Two 30,000 litre poly tanks were delivered, one at the top of the property and the other in the lower middle paddock. It was an interesting trip for the driver. As you can see, he had four water tanks on his truck. He had to meander his way along the dirt roads, with low hanging tree branches causing some issues. The three of us were able to manoeuvre the two water tanks off the truck and secure them on their sides until we were ready to connect them up.

Seriously impressed with the dozer, ripper and pipe feeder. I could not begin to imagine how difficult this job would have been without them. We laid 550 metres of pipe line for the bottom paddock and 850 metres of pipe line for the top paddocks. Three concrete trough’s are placed along the pipe line in the bottom paddock and six in the top paddocks.

An old 8 inches, 90 metre long asbestos pipe line was still present on the property. One end is closer to the river and the other end comes out into the bottom paddock. Another brilliant idea to utilise the existing line. The poly pipe was fed down hill into the asbestos pipe, assisted by water allowing the poly pipe to float over the asbestos joints.

Quite a task to level the troughs and get them connected and positioned in the right place. Fortunately we had very able assistants. We used the truck to pick up the troughs and pipeline, the tractor to lift the troughs into place and the excavator to assist with levelling and digging up the pipeline to connect the troughs. All the toys were used.

The top paddock required further work due to the angles needed to ensure gravity flow to each trough.

In the short-term we are using the fire pump to move water from the 110,000 litre tank capturing water off the shed roof to the 30,000 litre poly tank at the front of the property. The fire pump is configured with Cam Locks and flexible suction hoses, used for both suction and high pressure. We had to develop a simple hydraulic press to fit the female Cam Lock to the suction hose. This involved clamping the hose between channelled timber and supporting a 2 tonne bottle jack with hoop iron. A small application of grease is applied to the barb of the Cam Lock before pressing into the hose. A heavy duty stainless steel pipe clamp is used to tighten the suction hose onto the barb. This technique worked very well, however due to the hydraulic forces the prototype rig has a limited life. We may have to build an industrial version for extensive use. Also the suction hose does not work well as pressure pipe and it ultimately fails.

The fire pump draws from the top of the water tank and connects directly into the 1 1/2″ rural poly pipe line using Cam Locks. The pressure reads approximately 60 PSI (410 kPa) with 15m of head and  850 meters of line. A full tank of fuel lasts about 90 minutes and pumps approximately 20,000 litres, which equates to 222 lpm.

Long term we will install a solar powered bore pump solution. They can achieve significant head at a lower flow rate which is ideal for filling header tanks. They do not contain batteries and only operate during daylight hours with virtually no noise. A very Eco friendly solution.

Video showing the hard way and an easy way to flip a 30,000 litre poly tank.


2 comments on “Off Stream Watering”

  1. Diana and Martin Reply

    What an achievement, including paddling pool for Kimba. Such ingenuity! We are so impressed!
    D & D

    • David Reply

      Thank you. We are getting there, bit by bit. Wonderful support and help from family and friends.

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