Innovative Projects - Solar Powered Well Pump and Gravity Flow Watering System

                    By Andy Dyar, Little River 319 Project Coordinator

 

The Solar Panels

The Solar Panels

The Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission is pleased to spotlight an innovative project in the Little River 319 Project.   Through this project, a Morgan County landowner applied for cost share assistance to install a well, watering troughs, and livestock exclusion fencing to prevent cattle from accessing Little Indian and Big Indian Creeks in Morgan County.  The farm is divided into a north and south end by a railroad track.  The north end has power line access, and already has a functioning well.  The southern end of the farm is the location of this new alternative watering system.  The site doesn’t have power line access, and installing lines in this area would be too costly. 

 

Watering Trough and Heavy Use Area

Watering Trough and Heavy Use Area

As a result, the landowner decided to try an unconventional approach to powering the new watering system.   A solar panel system was installed as an alternative power supply for the conventional well that was drilled to water cattle.  The solar generator powers the well, pumping water into a 1500 gallon storage tank.  The well is located at a one of the highest elevation points on the farm, which allows for gravity to fill four water troughs.  These troughs are at a lower elevation than the well, to ensure that the water flows downhill from the storage tank.  Inside the tank is a float valve that triggers the generator when the water level in the tank reaches a certain low point, refilling the storage tank.  Due to the large capacity of the tank, the troughs can be refilled multiple times before the generator is needed to refill the tank. 

 

The Storage Tank

The Storage Tank

This project exemplifies innovation in agriculture.   Out-of-the-ordinary technology has been combined with typical conservation practices to provide livestock with a constant water source while protecting local water quality through limited livestock access.  The Georgia Soil and Water Conservation Commission’s Little River 319 Project is funded in cooperation with the Georgia Department of Natural Resources Environmental Protection Division utilizing Section 319(h) funding of the Clean Water Act.  For more information, contact Andy Dyar at 478-445-5766 or by email at adyar@gaswcc.org.   Project information can also be found on our website, www.gaswcc.georgia.gov.