Water Supply


In our Farmhouse we have the usual domestic metered water supply to the Kitchen and Bathroom which works quite well.

We also have a 'Farm' supply which is a stand pipe in the garden and an outside tap, neither of which appear to be connected to the house supply or metered at all, and which I believe supplies 'Agricultural' water.

Can someone advise me what quality this 'Agricultural' water is ?, for example our Dog has been drinking it for a year and seems fine, and using it to wash things outside seems fine as well, but can it be used in say a Washing Machine or a Dish Washer, or for cooking or washing salad ? I appreciate its probably not that good to drink, but what are its limitations as it seems to be free so I want to maximise its use.

Many thanks in advance


Thanks for your diligence, although it seems that the document is more applicable to Wells than the Stand Pipe supply. We do have a Well but what's in there is quite nasty and would I think would need considerable attention to even bring it up to washing Cars/watering the Garden standard.

The Stand Pipe testing is the make or break decision point as far as what it can be used for, and to circumvent where I got it from, and all that that may entail, I may take it back to the UK and have it done there.

Brian, from the ARS doc.


In the section recommendations it lists testing and reporting, it doesn't use the word Law anywhere so is it law? or just a recommendation that only daft people wishing to pay more tax would do?

We have a forage which we use to water our potager and orchard, wash the car and top,up the swimming pool.
We have not, as yet ,had it tested, and do not plan to use it in the house as it would increase our tax bill.
We used it, boiled, when our water supply was cut off for work without any previous warning without any problem.

Our 'insider' in the district's administration warned us about having the water from our non-potable supply and well tested because he said that the laboratory should ask if it is a 'registered' source. Then again, they might not. If they insist on it being registered at the mairie then it adds to our tax bill, we doubt they would do anything because they know us well enough at the lab, but they could tell the maire. If we don't do that ourselves then we are in trouble for not doing so. So, it seems like a bit of a game and perhaps a bit of a deviation from the gospel might be in order - not that I am saying you should, of course.

Yep, sounds the thing to do Tony. I used my well water for the veggie garden which worked well and saved loads of expensive town water during the hot months.

I did switch the house over to the well water for a while and drank bottled water but it just felt 'safer' to use the town water for domestic usage.

Point taken, but equally Peter Whitfield is thriving on something not so dissimilar.

I never intended to drink it, but merely to make better use of it than to wash the Car and water the grass.

First step is to see what I'm getting and maybe sample over a few months, and then decide if its usable as is, needs filtering, or just forget about the whole idea.

I think you should read John Bowman's reply again, before making any decision. We are among the fortunate minority of the world population who get clean drinking water on tap.

Re the cost - probably about 20 or 30 € but just guessing, the last time I had a test was about 10 years ago.

No Tony, not a chemist but a Laboratoire Analyse, the same place you would go for a blood test etc

Look in your Yellow Pages for your nearest lab (Tarbes or Lannemaison probably).

Thanks for the further replies, so if I take a sample to a Chemist they will give an analysis, and a recommendation of its suitability.

Can that be any Chemist such as a small Village one, or use a main town ?, and any idea of the rough cost as unfortunately my French isn't very fluent.

Agricultural water is used for agriculture… hence the name… to water crops. It is not filtered or purified nor chlorinated. Its origins depend on locality. It can come from rivers, lakes, land run-off.

It may contain faecal material, fertiliser/herbicide/pesticide residue, bacteria, parasites.

Testing it only informs about the quality of the supply at the time the sample is taken and even if it tests as harmless, that is no guarantee that on another day, weeks/months later it still will be OK.

It is unwise to let the dog drink it because… parasites, chemicals, bacteria just as it is unwise for Humans to drink it, wash salad. Cooking with it may kill bacteria and parasites but will only concentrate chemicals.

Using in dishwashers or washing machines just means you will get the bacteria, parasites and chemical residue on your crockery and clothes. The parasites might be dead but not the bacteria unless your machines exceed 70C.

If such water was ‘safe’ there would be no need to have water purification and water companies, and people in the Third World would not be dying in large numbers because they lacked clean water supply.

Take a sample to be tested at a test lab, the same place you would go for a blood test etc. Most have the facilities to do water tests etc.

Peter have you ever had it tested? only coming out clear and tastes alright isn't generally how water is passed as fit for drinking Lol

We are not even on a metered supply, so we have been drinking "Agricultural" water for 27 years. Its a forage or bore hole, taking water from the sand and shingle about 5 metres down. Comes out clear, and tastes fine. I believe you can get these things tested.

Sorry, I was unaware of the 'approve' button, should all be now visible.


We seem to be awaiting your approval to see what answers you got...........

Only guessing, but it is possible that the pipes and fittings used for agricultural supply may not be of the same standard as those for domestic use. But we live in a crazy world, where we flush toilets worth drinking water and buy less healthy stuff in bottles to drink!

What replies? I can't see any. You should get the water tested, take a sample to your pharmacy, Of course the water will vary at different times of the year. Farmers water? they also have a lot of rain on their crops so as yet the EU probably don't bother with a regulation.

A reverse osmosis filtration unit will take out most of what may bother you especially with activate charcoal filter present, the pore size in the filters membrane denotes how mach it will remove. Some parts of france have higher than WHO limits on arsenic and that can be removed as well as most other things.

Many thanks for your replies.

I was hoping that there would be some EU regulation as to what the farmers could spray over their Veg, which would at least give some minimum standard.

Understand the 'taxation' reservations and obviously I don't want to provide a rod for my own back. Historically the previous owner lived here for 35 years, and being French seemed to ignore rules and cut as many corners as he could, for example the house wiring would have brought a broad smile from Heath Robinson, but it didn't impress the man from EDF when he saw it !!!.

I also understand the 'purity' concerns, but water containing 'Chemicals used by Farmers' and 'Tap water is sewage water that has been treated', sounds very much like that supplied as Drinking water in the UK by most water companies, at least that's what I remember from a talk from the CEO of Bristol water a few years ago..............

We also have a Well, but looking at what's in there is certainly nothing that I would use other than possibly Weed Killer, in time I'll pump it out and probably find a dead body or two. Meanwhile the idea of a simple filtration system appeals and at least should provide usable water for the Washing Machine.