Water quality in southeast asia farming
Water intake and quality is key and complementary to the feed intake to succeed on the production cycle...
The importance of water intake in animal production is usually underestimated compared to feed intake. However, feed and water intake are closely linked: if there is a limited water intake, the feed intake will be reduced. In addition, all the digestive processes are dependent on water, and poor water quality will negatively impact on the performance and health of the animals.
Therefore, the knowledge of the factors determining the water quality are one of the keys for production success, prevention of disease transmission and for the use of the water as vehicle for therapies.
Groundwater is the primary source of water in Southeast Asia. Criteria used for water quality assessment in Southeast Asia include its chemical and microbiological status, evaluating stability and operational parameters and the efficiency of the water treatment, if present.
Evaluation of the water quality allows the classification of water and uses. In Malaysia, de Department of Environment (DOE) oversees the water quality criteria and standards. In the Philippines, the Environment Management Bureau is responsible to administer control over water quality. Below are two examples of water body classifications in Malaysia and the Philippines, where Class III or class C, respectively, is the water used for livestock drinking.
As an example, the Philippine National Standards for Drinking-Water (PNSDW) has classified ten mandatory parameters for water quality analysis, including: pH, color, turbidity, total dissolved solids (TDS), arsenic, cadmium, lead, nitrate, residual chlorine, and total coliform and thermotolerant coliform count. Furthermore, there are eleven secondary parameters which determine water acceptability, including aluminum, chloride, copper, total hardness, hydrogen sulfide, iron, odor, sodium, taste, zinc, and xylenes (total).
Below, there are some of the reference parameters for water quality assessment and the standards established by the authorities of the Philippines and Malaysia.
Optimum pH ranges from 6.5 to 8.5. Birds can tolerate wider pH ranges, although lower pH (acids) can cause drug precipitation and alter the digestive and absorption processes and damage the drinking distribution system, while higher pH (alkaline) can alter the water chlorination and ease the incrustation in the drinking system.
Salts present in the water can be beneficial or neutral (like the sodium chloride and carbonates) and there are others, such as sulfates, nitrates, and nitrites, which may affect the water intake and growth of the animals and may even cause intoxication. In addition, salts precipitation or corrosion can also damage the drinking system.
Microbiological contamination of the drinking water can originate at any point in the drinking system, and usually arises from inadequate treatment or poorly constructed perforations. These agents can cause disease ranging from dysbacteriosis to enteritis with high mortality and morbidity.
Among the microorganisms present, there can be bacteria (mainly Salmonella spp., Vibrio cholerae, Leptospira spp., Pseudomonas and Escherichia coli), virus, fungi, or parasites. In addition, poor water quality could be a predisposing factor to the formation of biofilms.
The presence of nitrates and nitrites are indicators of bacterial contamination since these compounds derive from the degradation of organic matter.
There is a paucity of published research information on the quality of water used in the animal production system in Southeast Asia. A study conducted in 7 dairy farms of Malaysia revealed that 4 of these farms had the drinking water categorized as Class IV or V, indicating that most of the cattle farms still have the quality of their drinking water below the National Water Quality Standards.
Water intake and quality is key and complementary to the feed intake to succeed on the production cycle. Thus, the knowledge of the parameters to determine the water quality and the periodical sampling of the water supply at different sites of the facilities (tank, drinker, nipple) is mandatory to assess water quality and determine potential variations in its composition. The information obtained of this continuous evaluation will allow to take the proper measures (treatments or search of new water sources) needed for the best performance of the flocks in Southeast Asia.
- Bertsch, G. (2019). Calidad del agua en producción avícola. Veterinaria Digital.
- Jesse, F. F. A. ., Gopi Naidu, N. R. ., Johari, W. L. W. ., Chung, E. L. T. ., Thlama, B. P. ., Lila, M. A. M. ., & Haron, A. W. . (2022). Assessment of Drinking Water and Wastewater Quality in Selected Dairy Cattle Farms from Malaysia. Journal of Advanced Veterinary Research, 12(2), 128-134. Retrieved from https://advetresearch.com/index.php/AVR/article/view/919
- Lomboy, J. Riego de Dios, B. Magtibay, R. Quizon, V. Molina, V. Fadrilan-Camacho, J. See, A. Enoveso, L. Barbosa, A. Agravante; Updating national standards for drinking-water: a Philippine experience. J Water Health 1 April 2017; 15 (2): 288–295. doi: https://doi.org/10.2166/wh.2016.177
- Malaysian regulation: https://www.doe.gov.my/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/Standard-Kualiti-Air-Kebangsaan.pdf
- Philippines regulation: https://emb.gov.ph/wp-content/uploads/2019/04/DAO-2016-08_WATER-QUALITY-GUIDELINES-AND-GENERAL-EFFLUENT-STANDARDS.pdf