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Spring Development

spring development







Image courtesy of Rod Shaw, WEDC, Loughborough University, UK.


Enhancing a spring for use as a water supply for a farmstead or for livestock.

How it works

By installing a spring box, pipelines, and other components, it is possible to increase the flow of water from a natural spring. Required materials are usually readily available and may include culvert pipe, PVC pipe, concrete mix, local rock and gravel, and a small backhoe. An important consideration is the proper handling of and distance of potential contaminants from a well or other water source. For instance, mixing pesticides or washing or disposing containers near a well can easily contaminate drinking water.

How it helps

  • Can provide an excellent and plentiful source of clean water
  • Provides an inexpensive water source with readily available materials, minimal excavation, and inexpensive landscaping, as compared to wells or cisterns
  • Does not require pumps or electricity unless you have to pump uphill
  • May improve efficiency and reduce production costs
  • Protects water from contaminants

Planning ahead

  • Do you understand the geological setting and area that supplies the spring?
  • Are erosion control and livestock exclusion necessary?
  • Have you inventoried operations near the spring?
  • Where is the spring in relation to feedlots and chemical handling facilities?

Technical notes

  • Assess contamination risks and make necessary changes.
  • Avoid activities that may contribute to contamination, both in and around the spring.
  • Apply pesticides on days with minimal wind to prevent chemical drift into the area.


  • Keep an emergency chemical spill kit handy.
  • Maintain filter strips and fencing that protect the spring area.
  • Maintain infrastructure, which may include a concrete spring box or headwall, fencing, pipelines, etc.