Research project Water consumption in animal husbandry

In progress WAVE
water cows

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General introduction

To prevent future water scarcity in livestock farming, efforts must be made to switch to alternative water sources as well as to save water. To support the Flemish livestock sector in this conversion, correct and recent figures of drinking water consumption and other water consumption categories are lacking. The general objective of WAVE is to increase the efficiency of water consumption in the livestock sector by collecting correct figures on water consumption, raising awareness among livestock farmers about possible water savings and knowledge transfer about alternative water sources and water treatments.

Research approach

We monitor water consumption at a representative group of livestock farms, per type of water and per consumption item. We use these key figures for water consumption to better guide livestock farmers towards cost-efficient water-saving measures. We list and evaluate possible investments in alternative water sources. We communicate the supply of quality water from alternative water sources for the livestock sector.

Test Precision Livestock Farming (PLF) systems that can help livestock farmers monitor their water use at the animal or group level and identify leakage losses or abnormal water use.Inform livestock farmers about possible water treatment systems for rainwater, for example, and thus make better use of alternative water sources.


With this project and measurement campaign, the partners in WAVE want to sensitize livestock farmers throughout Flanders about their water use and make them aware of the importance of monitoring their water consumption. We also want to inform livestock farmers about the importance of good water quality and the importance of alternative water sources. Through knowledge dissemination and demonstrations, we want to motivate or inspire livestock farms to switch to alternative water sources and encourage water conservation where possible. By gaining a better understanding of base and peak consumption throughout the year and per water source, farmers can take proactive measures to respond to anticipated shortages. Finally, this project will lead to refinement of the key figures used for sustainability monitoring tools such as Klimrek and permit applications.


Vlaamse Overheid Departement L&V