Fix That Leak:10 Ways To Save Water
Are you a steward of the Earth? Here are a few simple things you can do to conserve water resources.
by Michael Kovalycsik, National Sales & Marketing Director, Delta T Solutions
Water is the Earth’s most important natural resource and too much of it is wasted daily. Greenhouse growers can curb water waste with just a few, simple and cost-efficient measures. Check out the following water-saving methods and then make a date with your operations team to put them into play. In addition to some low-cost tools and systems you can put in place, there are also a few no-brainers on the list that won’t cost you anything — but will save you a lot of money and improve your environmental profile.
1. CHECK FOR LEAKS
The most obvious water-saving measure may be the one that you overlook, consequently wasting hundreds of gallons of water and running up your water bill. That’s why all growers should build in time to periodically check all valves, pipes and hoses for leaks. A small drip from a worn faucet washer can waste 20 gallons of water per day. Larger leaks can waste hundreds of gallons. Study your water meter before and after a two-hour period when no water is being used. If the meter does not read exactly the same, there is a leak.
2. INSULATE YOUR PIPES
It's easy and inexpensive to insulate your water pipes with pre-slit foam pipe insulation. If you use hydronic hot water heat or a warm water irrigation system, crops will receive hot water from your heat source faster. Plus, you can avoid wasting water while it heats up.
3. AUTOMATE YOUR IRRIGATION
In addition to being labor-intensive, hand-watering is also unreliable, with some areas of a crop getting too much water and others not enough. Investing in an automated irrigation system allows growers to pre-program aspects such as watering time, quantity, and flow rate. Plants are thus watered uniformly and efficiently, providing improved crop quality and water savings.
4. GROUP PLANTS BY WATER NEEDS
Grouping like plants with similar water needs together within your greenhouse will improve irrigation efficiency. Adjust individual sections of the irrigation system to avoid excess watering in some sections.
5. SWITCH TO SUBIRRIGATION
Subirrigation systems, such as Delta T Solutions’ Flood and Bench Irrigation Line are extremely effective at reducing water waste. These systems also require half the fertilizer of overhead irrigation and lead to less disease as the foliage remains dry. The initial investment pays off quickly in decreased water bills and increased plant health.
6. USE A CONSTANT PRESSURE SYSTEM
Delta T Solutions offers a tool that provides the appropriate water pressure at all times, whether water demand is high or low. Using a Variable Frequency Drive, which operates the water pump and keeps pressure within a close tolerance ranging from zero to full capacity flow, a Constant Pressure System solves the problem of water system pressure and flow fluctuations. This saves growers water, maintenance and money because it also prevents overwatering.
7. RECYCLE WATER
Many growers use retention basins, storage ponds, storage tanks and additional pumping capacity. While potential disadvantages include physical, chemical and biological properties building up in the water, there are many resources available for growers to learn to treat recycled water. Learn more by visiting the Water Education Alliance For Horticulture web site.
8. INSTALL A RAINWATER HARVESTING SYSTEM
While harvesting rainwater from roof gutter systems doesn’t directly reduce your water use, it does minimize use of city and aquifer water supplies while using free water from the sky. If a roof area of only 1,000 square feet can provide approximately 600 gallons of water during a one inch rainfall, imagine how much water a greenhouse range can collect.
9. GET EDUCATED ABOUT LOCAL EFFORTS
As climate change affects communities across the country, some states are leading the way in preparing for the impacts on water resources, reducing carbon pollution and planning for climate change impacts; yet many states are not acting and remain unprepared. Visit www.nrdc.org/water/readiness to find out how your state compares.
10. CALL AN EXPERT
With more than 30 years providing greenhouse water management systems, Delta T Solutions can offer a customized plan for your greenhouse operation. Contact a Delta T Solutions Representative for additional detail by calling 800-552-5058 or email: email@example.com.
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