How to save water in the Horticultural Industry
There are 3 main areas in which we can focus on making changes:-
Many nurseries irrigate all plants to the needs of the driest, most water thirsty plant. This means that the majority of plants are receiving too much water!
- Fix water efficient nozzles to any overhead sprinkler and apply the water evenly
- Try to use pot space efficiently to cut down on water that is lost between plants
- If suitable, install sub irrigation or drip irrigation systems
- Set up wind breaks to cut down on water lost to wind and transpiration. These will also protect you plants and irrigation equipment
- Manage your irrigation system correctly. Choose a system which allows automatic shutdown, moisture sensors, and can apply water at different rates to different parts of the nursery
Recycling water reduces consumption of mains water and limits the amount of runoff from the site.
- Filter and remove solids before recycling
- There are various treatment and disinfection techniques. Determine what your requirements are before deciding what treatment mechanism is necessary
- Recycled water from production areas must be treated (filtering and disinfection) before being applied again. This is to ensure pathogens, pesticides, nutrients, and sediment are not transmitted to other plant stocks
- Construct wetlands to trap and biologically treat runoff from the site. This water can then be reused for irrigation
- Throughout the year, monitor quantity and quality of collected water.
- Rooftops and runoff from most non-production areas are a good source of irrigation water, with little need for treatment. Consider this option and see the section on rainwater harvesting for more information
Managing runoff has many benefits;
- Recovers used water safely for treatment and recycling
- Establish an erosion, sediment, and litter control plan, for the development and running of the nursery
- Try to use natural features to control runoff, and use erosion control devices where necessary. This will enable you to collect good quality water for reuse
As well as reducing your water bills, there are many benefits to saving water in your business.
Other benefits of saving water in nurseries:
- A water efficient nursery will reduce your water bills. Savings could increase in the future, as the price of water may rise as water becomes a scarcer resource
- Recycling water can reduce fertiliser needs, as excess water doesn’t leak out of the pots
- Efficient and even water application improves the health of the plant stock and ensures fewer diseased plants are discarded
- Water efficient nurseries can reduce their impact on the environment by reducing pesticide, nutrient, and pathogen flow into the surrounding streams.
- A water efficient nursery contributes less to stormwater flow, reducing the need for costly public stormwater projects.
- A water efficient nursery can look tidy and organised
- Water efficient management can improve the image of the business, by showing that you care for the environment.
- Water efficient nurseries are well prepared for the occurrence of drought or mains water supply failure.
- Water efficient businesses help reduce the demand for expensive water infrastructure projects
For more information or advice on how to save water, speak to one of our Sales Team on 01270 212726.