Benefits for Agricultural Use
There are some major benefits to running a Crystal Water High Flow Reverse Osmosis System for agricultural spraying/irrigation operations. First and foremost is your bottom line expenditure, combating the expense of correcting poor water quality. The ever increasing cost of water softeners and pH correctors for every chemical application are done away with. Crystal Water High Flow Reverse Osmosis System is able to supply premium quality purified water at a rate that is indicative of your individual needs. Each agriculture water filter system is tailor made for your water source and rate required, supplying you with an almost unlimited supply of water for your agriculture farming programs, stock or even the family home.
Premium quality of water
In today’s climate, water is becoming a scarce commodity. A lack of rainfall and ever increasing threat of drought along with increasing spray application rates means that new and reliable supplies of water for agricultural use are essential. Drilling bores for example, did not have to go very deep; about 35 meters 20 years ago. Even now that is not enough with some bores extending down to 60 meters or more. As the bore gets deeper, the risk of organic and chemical contaminants increase. Over the past years, the Australian Government has been studying the level of groundwater to make sure that there is no significant drop in water levels. Since 2010 the Government has been introducing recycled sewerage into the groundwater to keep the levels at a sustainable level. While the Australian Government does its best to make sure the recharge of groundwater has no contaminants, there is no way to consistently monitor all water that enters back into recharging the groundwater that is used in bores. With a Crystal Water Reverse Osmosis system, this problem is alleviated. As the source water goes through the reverse osmosis system, it is processed down to hydro-filtration level removing 100% of particulate, 95-98% of contaminants . This gives you the highest and most cost-effective level of water purification available.
Water softeners and pH issues
The location of the bore can influence the quality of water that comes from groundwater. Depending on where the bore is drilled, the water can fall into one of five categories: Hardness, Carbonate and Bicarbonate, Saline, Muddy and Alkaline.
Hard water in Australia is water that has high mineral content (in contrast with “soft water”). Hard water is formed when water percolates through deposits of calcium and magnesium-containing minerals such as limestone, chalk and dolomite. In domestic settings, hard water is often indicated by a lack of suds formation when soap is agitated in water, and by the formation of lime scale in kettles and water heaters. Wherever water hardness is a concern, water softening is commonly used to reduce hard water’s adverse effects. If the water from the bore is classified as hard, water softeners with ammonium sulphate are needed to make sure the water is usable for agricultural purposes. By removing the magnesium and calcium-containing minerals it allows products such as glyphosate and more, to control weeds without efficacy being compromised by unwanted Magnesium and Calcium ions. Click here to see a simple water hardness calculator.
Carbonate and Bicarbonate (mainly to do with Irrigation)
High calcium concentrations in spraying/irrigation water can cause blockages in drip irrigation systems. High temperatures in the trickle tube cause calcium carbonate to precipitate, forming a white scale. Blockages are likely if the calcium carbonate saturation index is greater than 0.5. Calcium carbonate blockages can be reduced or prevented by:
• covering the pipes with soil or mulch to prevent heating;
• flushing the system with soft water for 5 to 10 minutes following each spray application;
• If scale forms in the drippers, use 3% inhibited sulphamic acid solution to remove the scale;
• Regularly injecting sodium hexametaphosphate salts.
All of these steps can help reduce carbonate and bicarbonate water, however these can usually take too much time and can be costly to keep up with maintenance. Removing the concentrations from the water is the simplest and most cost-effective method to avoid these potential issues.
Saline water is water that contains a significant concentration of dissolved salts (mainly NaCl) and is commonly known as salt water. The salt concentration is usually expressed in parts per thousand or parts per million (ppm). The United States Geological Survey classifies saline water in three salinity categories. Salt concentration in slightly saline water is around 1,000 to 3,000 ppm (0.1-0.3%), in moderately saline water 3,000 to 10,000 ppm (0.3-1%) and in highly saline water 10,000 to 35,000 ppm (1-3.5%). Seawater has a salinity of roughly 35,000 ppm, equivalent to 35 grams of salt per one litre (or kilogram) of water. There are three obvious salinity risks associated with irrigation:
Saline Irrigation water
- The water may contain high levels of salt that may either directly affect plant growth or add salt to the soil so that plant growth is eventually affected by the increasing level of soil salinity.
- Applying more irrigation water than is actually required to plants may raise a water table under the area. If the water table is saline, and shallow enough to be in the root zone, plant growth could be affected. Deeper saline water tables may also be a problem; if within 2 metres of the surface dissolved salt can be moved into the root-zone by capillary movement in profiles with high clay content.
- Irrigated cropping changes the water balance in a number of ways, compared to perennial pasture. A key factor is cultivation and fallowing before sowing. During this period, evapo-transpiration is reduced and more water will infiltrate to the groundwater, with the potential to raise the level of a saline water table. In summary the main hazards are applying salts to the plants and the soil if the water is saline, and raising the height of a saline water table.
The most common salt in water is Sodium Chloride. While there are other types of salts, particularly in bore water, it is simple common salt that requires most attention.
Salt in the water has three effects on plants:
Direct ion toxicity
– Both sodium and chloride cause leaf burning, particularly in woody crops (e.g., tree fruits).
– High levels of Sodium and Chloride in the soil can increase the availability and uptake of other ions in the soil, to the extent that they become toxic, for example Cadmium and Boron. High salt levels can also reduce the availability of some elements, for example Calcium, to the extent that they become deficient.
-High salt concentrations in the soil water make it more difficult for plant roots to extract water from the soil. This increases water stress to the extent that plants may wilt while sitting in water.
Water with salinity problems can inhibited the production of crops and can also inhibit the use of some chemicals.
Salinity (Chemical Application)
Salinity is the concentration of all soluble salts in water. The amount of mineral salts dissolved in water is measured by its electrical conductivity (EC). The type of local rock and soil can influence the saltiness of water, but high EC is usually caused by runoff containing fertiliser salts getting into the water source.
Salty water can cause blockages and corrode the metal parts of spray rigs. High salt levels, particularly chloride, can lead to burning of crop foliage. Sensitivity to salts varies between crops. It is important to know the concentration of chloride that will cause foliar damage to crops grown. The types of chemicals affected by Saline water e.g. Chlorsulfuron, Diuron, MCPA, Simazine and 2,4-D ester.
Clay, tannins and particulate matter in water resulting in muddiness can tie up many of the most important knockdown products such as Glyphosate and Gramoxone.
Muddy water can be problematic when it comes to spraying. Blockages are the most likely scenario when spraying takes place, leading to either inadequate spraying applications, timely maintenance and/or uneven dispersion. When using chemicals like Roundup in muddy water, they can be absorbed into the particulate matter in the water, ‘locking’ them up.
Alkaline water, when used in spray solutions, can reduce or destroy the effectiveness of some pesticides. Pesticide labels should contain information on the critical pH levels at which the chemical breaks down. Water with a pH of over 7.5 is alkaline enough to affect the active ingredient in some pesticides. LI 700 can be used to reduce the pH level of the water to help chemicals be more effective.
In summary, these categories of water can adversely affect spraying applications in a multitude of ways; whether it be through introducing more chemicals to make the water usable or constantly maintaining equipment to maximise effectiveness, removing these particulates and solutes is the best preventative method to maximise weed control and therefore yield.
Having a Crystal Water Reverse Osmosis tailored to your specific needs will remove 100% of particulates and 95-98% of contaminants, giving premium quality water. With these two issues resolved, there is now an abundant amount or premium water at your disposal to be used in a wide range of agricultural applications.