Unlike hydroponic agriculture, traditional agriculture typically doesn’t typically require high-quality, purified water. However, if irrigation water is too contaminated, minerals and biological accumulation will quickly clog the irrigation system. The simple fix is treating the water with a commercial reverse osmosis system to lower the TDS (Total Dissolved Solids).
If reverse osmosis water quality is not necessary or too expensive, but lowering TDS is still required, blending RO water with a portion of the raw source water can economically lower contamination levels while keeping a portion of the source minerals. The blending valve allows for total control of the final irrigation water’s TDS creating the ideal water quality, specific to the crop.
Hemp Water Quality
Hemp is known to be an efficient bio-accumulator. It can detoxify contaminated soil by removing toxic substances and storing them in the tissues of the plant. If hemp is grown for ingestible CBD or medical applications, it is critical to filter out any toxic contaminants that exist in the irrigation water and soil.
Commercial Hydroponic Food Production
Reverse osmosis is common in commercial hydroponic food production wherever pure water is essential, such as cut flowers, orchids, hydroponic tomatoes, or mushroom farms. Increasingly, urban agriculture methods such as hydroponic food production or container farming rely on commercial reverse osmosis for a consistent, pure water base to mix nutrients with.
Holy City Farms, a hydroponic tomato farm on an island off South Carolina, had too much sodium and chloride in their water, inhibiting plant growth. After using a commercial reverse osmosis system, they were able to increase yields by removing all contaminants, starting with a pure water base. They were also able to conserve water by dumping wastewater less frequently and recirculating the nutrients for a longer amount of time.
Commercial Aquaponic and Aquaculture
Managing water quality for aquaponics and aquaculture is essential whenever cultivating any aquatic organisms like fish or coral. Important water quality parameters like pH, alkalinity, hardness, ammonia, and nitrates must be closely monitored so that fish can thrive. If any of these contaminants are too high in the source water, a commercial reverse osmosis system is required to lower the contaminants in the water used to fill and top off the system. It is always recommended to top off aquatic systems with RO water, so that the minerals do not build up in tanks due to water loss from evaporation.