Salinity in Agriculture
Water with high electrical conductivity (EC) typically contains a lot of sodium chloride (Salinity in Agriculture) co-occurring with carbonates of calcium and magnesium. Each of these elements can build up in soils while the sodium and chloride cause corrosion of infrastructure. While sodium and chloride are essential plant nutrients, an oversupply of these elements can be toxic if not treated.
In situations where the irrigation water is high in dissolved minerals a combination of scaling, corrosion and salinity issues can occur, which can either cause blockages in irrigation systems or cause stress to the plants or both.
Hydrosmart treatment separates minerals and nutrients contained in the water, causing a size reduction in particles. The breakdown of large complexes of minerals, unblocks the root zone of plants and facilitates the uptake of calcium, magnesium and potassium, essential for healthy plant growth. At the same time, users see a dramatic lessening of salt toxicity problems and progressive improvement in soil structure.
Salinity in agriculture issues, with the help of Hydrosmart technology, commercial growers in many branches of agriculture, are now growing healthy plants in water with salinity levels exceeding those that are normally considered toxic, but in many cases are producing the best crops in the region.
Enhanced plant growth
Many years of independent scientific research has shown a significant improvement in plant growth and a corresponding reduction in growth problems in plants irrigated with Hydrosmart treated water, as compared to those grown in untreated water under identical conditions. This result occurs both in rainwater and in highly saline water, and is largely due to the minerals in the treated flow becoming readily available to the plant.
The extra supply of nutrients from the breakdown of the minerals and fertilisers allows them to be easily transported throughout the plant, and accordingly many growing problems like tip burn are being eliminated. Plants are healthier and the overall harvest is improved both in terms of fruit/vegetable/salad quality and tonnage, with significant improvements in fresh weight, taste, colour and shelf life.
Sustainability of Salinity in Agriculture
Hydrosmart treatment supports healthy plant growth in high salinity and high TDS water, and yet decreases or maintains current soil salinity, rather than increasing soil salinity as normally occurs when irrigating for long periods with high salinity water. In scaled systems, by eliminating the need for use of acidic chemical descaling agents, soil pH is unaffected.
Sodium chloride is a major accelerator of the corrosive process attacking pipes, pumps, valves and any other equipment in contact with the saline water. Corrosion is due to chemical reactivity of metal, coming in contact with salts precipitating from the water supply. Once saline water is treated by Hydrosmart, precipitation of salts, and therefore their frequency of contact with metals, is minimised and corrosion is lessened.
As scale is dissolved, water flow is re-established in blocked systems, and this overcomes the need to replace pipes, equipment and infrastructure at great cost. Savings can be substantial, and this angle continues to be the key driver for Hydrosmart take up in the agriculture industry.
Read a good article by the Western Australian Department of Agriculture, – Water salinity and plant irrigation