A British company has created an irrigation system that can grow crops using salt water. The dRHS irrigation system consists of a network of sub-surface pipes, which can be filled with almost any water, whether pure, brackish, salted or polluted. The system can even take most industrial waste-water and use it without the need for a purification process.
The pipes are made from a plastic that retains virtually all contaminants while letting clean water through to the plants' roots.
It was designed by Mark Tonkin of Design Technology and Irrigation, which is based in Brighton. He says that once the pipes have been laid, the system will require little maintenance and therefore no significant costs. This is partly because it's fed by gravity from an elevated supply tank, and partly because water diffuses through the porous pipe walls, so there are no holes to get blocked up.
The farmer will occasionally have to flush the pipes to clean out salt crystals and dirt, but Tonkin says this is a simple process.
The article goes on to say...
The system has so far supported the growth of tomatoes, radishes, courgettes, peppers, lettuce, strawberries and beans as well as three different types of tree - cherry, olive and prosopis. The company is now trying to grow acacias, oaks and banana trees among others.
It has also won international recognition for its work, most recently at the international Water Technology Idol event in Switzerland, organised by Global Water Intelligence magazine and the International Desalination Association.