The Benefits of Automated Watering
in Today’s Research Facility
At one of the United Kingdom’s most prominent medical research facilities, genetically modified mice have been safely and easily drinking from an automated
watering system for several years. Housed in
individually ventilated cages (IVCs) or flexible film
isolators, the Medical Research Council’s (MRC)
Ares Facility has automated the delivery of water
to approximately 90% of their IVCs in this new
building. Their primary goal for the system was to
assure worker safety and animal welfare—they’ve
accomplished both. Cage flooding incidents have been
reduced to statistically insignificant levels, and staff’s
ergonomic complaints have literally vanished.
A BRIEF LESSON IN AWS DESIGN
The automated watering system is custom-designed
based on water quality, facility size, room layout,
cage manufacturer and animal species. The incoming
water supply to your facility is first pre-treated with
particulate and carbon filtration. It is then routed
through reverse osmosis purification equipment (which
removes up to 99.99% of contaminants) and a chemical
injection station to a storage tank. The pre-treatment
process removes particles, non-organics, organics,
dissolved ions, pyrogens, bacteria, viruses and other
microorganisms—contaminants that can disrupt the
validity of your studies.
The purified water is then transported through
stainless steel piping to each animal room. Next, water
flows into cage rack manifold piping and is accessed by
animals through a drinking valve. To get a drink, animals
simply bite, lick or nose the stem of the valve and
water flows out at a controlled rate appropriate for the
species. When the animal releases the stem, water flow
Some automated watering systems feature automatic
flushing of rack manifolds and room distribution piping
to avoid water stagnation and to combat bacteria growth.
Detailed alarming and reporting features of the automated
watering system put you in complete control of your
An increasingly accepted method of H2O delivery, the
automated watering system has met its share of opposition
over the years. However, objections to automated watering
are largely based on anecdotal or outdated information.
These misconceptions can interfere with a facility’s decision
to make a well-informed choice when it comes to selecting
what method they will use to water their animals in a new
or renovated building. Many times, people don’t take into
account the major advancements manufacturers have made
to improve automated watering equipment and processes.
The technology has completely evolved over the years
into a system that is extremely dependable.
Automated watering has many tangible benefits to
consider. Let’s start with its reliability. Automated watering
is known as a safe, reliable and effective method for
providing high-quality drinking water to research animals.
Designed specifically for use inside ventilated cages, the
modern drinking valve has a record of reliability.
Animal Technicians at the MRC Ares Facility carefully
documented every instance of leakage and its cause
to expose the true statistics about cage flooding. More
Automated watering systems can work with most cage styles and cage
It’s safe, reliable and effective.