In recent years, desertification has increased as a result of climate change. As arid conditions around the world are becoming more abundant, the amount of available irrigation water for agriculture inevitably goes down in those arid regions.
For those regions where irrigation water is scarce, water reuse can be a solution. Governments are already acknowledging this new reality, implementing laws on how water can be reused safely for agriculture irrigation. And scientists are constantly on the lookout for new sources of water for irrigation use.
As growers are increasingly turning to new sources of irrigation water, new ways for safe reuse need to be found. While reclaimed water offers an ample source to draw from, especially in arid regions with otherwise low supplies of water, there are risks associated with reuse: chemical contaminants, biofilm and biofouling provide challenges to safely reusing water for irrigation.
The power of peroxide
It’s clear that a safe and sustainable solution is needed to provide a secure source of clean irrigation water in areas with increasing drought. Hydrogen peroxide is a powerful water treatment agent, with the added benefit of giving crops a boost thanks to increased oxygenation.
The current hydrogen peroxide production and supply chain is far from sustainable, however. Centralized chemical plants around the world produce over 6.5 million tons of hydrogen peroxide, emitting greenhouse gasses equivalent to 3 million cars’ emissions, and outputting over 60 million tons/annum of toxic waste. In addition, transporting, storing and handling highly concentrated hydrogen peroxide can be hazardous, and is subject to tightening regulations. In areas where people are concerned about sourcing clean water, having these extra problems to deal with is certainly something they can do without.
What if there was a way for growers to circumvent the unsustainable and hazardous supply chain, while still getting the hydrogen peroxide needed to turn reclaimed water into precious irrigation water? Thanks to HPNow’s patented on-site generation technology, HPGen, there is a way to do just that.
Using only water, electricity and oxygen from ambient air as inputs, HPGen produces pure, safe, low concentration hydrogen peroxide, which breaks back down to pure water and oxygen following use.
The Peroxide UltraPure produced by HPGen is a powerful and safe water treatment agent, with a purity of over 99.99%. It ensures that irrigation lines and drippers remain clean and free-flowing, which improves plant safety. No chemical inputs are needed, and no harmful byproducts are released to the environment or taken up by plants. As the Peroxide UltraPure breaks down into pure water and oxygen, it has the added benefit of providing increased water oxygenation, a key factor in achieving healthier, more robust crops.
Case study: Water reuse at avocado plantation
An example illustrates how HPGen technology has successfully been used to improve irrigation water from an unconventional source. Tropical Concept, a family-owned company that grows avocados in a 200 ha plantation in the Algarve region in Southern Portugal, sources its irrigation water from a borehole. As is typical in the region, it contains a large amount of organic material.
The avocado plantation was struggling with high organic content in the irrigation water, which resulted in periodic bacterial outbreaks that clogged filters and drippers, and caused poor irrigation uniformity. This also threatened the health of the avocado trees, which were under stress due to non-uniform distribution of water and fertilizer, as well as attacks from water-borne pathogens.
The grower started by dosing Peroxide UltraPure in a section of the plantation only, while leaving another section without dosing. Within three weeks differences started to appear between the two sections: firstly, Tropical Concept reported that drippers in the dosed section were flowing very uniformly and appeared clean of bacterial slime and biofilm. Another six weeks forward the crop started responding to the optimal delivery of clean water and nutrients.
In areas where desertification is becoming increasingly troublesome, resulting in low availability of clean irrigation water, there are ways to safely reclaim water and use it for agricultural purposes. HPGen’s on-site hydrogen peroxide generation solution enables growers to do so in a safe and sustainable manner, and without the logistical and permitting burdens associated with chemical treatments, putting clean irrigation water in reach even for remote regions.
To learn more about the benefits of on-site peroxide generation in agriculture, please visit the HPNow website.
This article is part of the digital issue - Agriculture in Arid Zones