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Water foot-printing & water use reduction of Irish pig production

Project Summary

  • Water scarcity is increasing globally and pig production is highly dependent on freshwater resources
  • Consumers are looking for environmentally sustainable products. Optimizing water use on pig farms will help in making production systems sustainable and improve marketability of export industry
  • Additionally studying the role of factors (e.g. cleaning procedures, group size, stocking density, behavior, environmental enrichment) that can reduce water wastage will help optimise farm efficiencies


  • Quantify the green and blue water uses from cradle to farm-gate on Irish pig farms, and, explore the effect of differences in farm infrastructure and management.
  • Study the effect of feeding strategies to reduce the freshwater use of Irish pig farms, while accounting for food-feed competition.
  • Evaluate the effect of cleaning procedures on blue water usage and water wastage for weaner stage on a pig farm.
  • Evaluate the effect of group size and environmental enrichment on blue water usage and water wastage through drinkers for grower finisher pigs on a pig farm.

Expected Benefits:

  • Improved knowledge of water usage and wastage on Irish pig farms
  • Creation of a water footprint model for Irish pig production to help monitor water use
  • Improved water management practices will mean better financial and environmental performance
  • Deliver best practice recommendations for water consumption reduction at the farm and system levels

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