Source: National Farm Animal Care Council Code of Practice for the care and handling of farm animals РDairy Cattle, Section 2.3

Water availability and quality are extremely important for animal health and productivity (30). If the water supply is interrupted for more than 12 hours, an alternate watering method should be used. One lactating cow will drink between 80-120 liters per day.

Water quality (e.g., palatability) affects water consumption. Cows will limit their water intake to the point of dehydration if the quality of drinking water is compromised (e.g., polluted by algae, manure or urine) (32).


Cattle must have access to palatable and clean water in quantities to meet their needs.


  1. have an alternative watering system in the event of an interruption in water supply
  2. construct and locate watering systems so that they are protected from fouling and freezing
  3. keep water troughs, bowls, and nipples clean and check them at least once daily to ensure they are dispensing water properly
  4. situate watering points at walkthrough areas (cross-over alleys)
  5. provide water with a depth of at least 4in (10cm) in water troughs and mount troughs at a height comfortable for the cow to drink (24-30in, 60-75 cm)
  6. test water quality annually and occasionally test for stray voltage.