B.C. Livestock Watering Handbook

The revised and updated Livestock Watering Handbook is now completed and available. It replaces the 1990 edition which was a bound publication. This 2006 version is in factsheet form that allows for easy internet access as well as allowing future updates as needed. Also, the use of colour allows tables, diagrams, and pictures to better convey information. New pumping technology, more details in selecting and installing water troughs, more system design information, and more winter watering ideas are just some of the added materials.

Who will be interested in this Handbook ? Anyone who waters livestock outdoors in summer or winter will find a factsheet of direct use to them. Whether maintaining an existing system, or considering a new one, practical ideas are presented with detailed information where necessary. As these systems use small diameter pipes and low water volumes, the design information will also relate to other similar water systems on farms, other than those for livestock watering.

The 274 page Handbook consists of 35 Ministry of Agriculture and Lands factsheets totalling 202 pages and 5 publications from other agencies totalling 72 pages. For easy access the Handbook is in seven (7) sections:

  • Livestock Water Requirements – 2 factsheets and 2 agency publications on water quantity and quality
  • Accessing Watercourses Directly – 3 factsheets on issues and solutions
  • Developing Water Sources – 6 factsheets on water licences; surface and ground water
  • Designing Livestock Watering Systems –8 factsheets on flow rate; pressure; storage; trough sizing; selecting small diameter pipe; gravity flow systems; selecting winter flow-through rates; storage tanks 
  • Pumping Livestock Water – 10 factsheets on energy choices; pumps; motors and engines; using wind, gravity, solar, livestock, stream, and ram energy
  • Summer Outdoor Livestock Watering – 3 factsheets and 2 agency publications on selecting, building, and installing troughs
  • Winter Outdoor Livestock Watering – 3 factsheets and 1 agency publication on winter issues; frost-free hydrants; winter trough choices

The Handbook can be found at the Ministry of Agriculture, Sustainable Agriculture Management Branch website. The site has been organized to list the factsheets under the above sections for easy access.

What are some of the new ideas and equipment covered ?

  • information on water licences and measuring water flow in a number of ways
  • more information on water system design, including details and problem solving of gravity pipelines
  • the use of onsite energy sources to pump livestock water (pumps such as sling, nose, winter nose, and modified ram pumps all offer the ability to pump water in remote sites)
  • an expanded section on summer systems with details on specifications and requirements
  • an expanded section on winter systems including flow-through water troughs

The Handbook is the complete package of factsheets, but producers are likely to want specific ones that can be printed individually. While some reference is made to other factsheets, each factsheet is written to be “stand alone”. Some, such as the four Design factsheets, are a continuum with each building on the former.

With the use of colour, these factsheets should be printed in colour where possible to ensure the information is clearly understood. All factsheets are in PDF format and can be printed directly to your printer.

This Handbook adds to the information package offered by the Ministry on the Sustainable Agriculture Management Branch site which has over 700 factsheets and plans.