Water Management

Three quick tips for smarter greenhouse water management

“Careful management of water, nutrients and drain water recycling has never been so relevant as in 2020,” says Andrew Lee, Technical Services Manager at Grodan. “It’s a very important focus area for growers to contribute to the sustainability of global food production and consumption.” That’s why today on World Water Day, we share three tips from Grodan’s Best Practice Guidelines for Greenhouse Water Management to help you improve your greenhouse water cycle.

grower, strawberry, greenhouse, plants, slabs, grodan
Tip 1: Secure the quality of your primary water supply

The quality of the primary water supply is very important when operating within a closed hydroponic system. Rain water is pure and so it is naturally your best primary water source. Make sure you know the quality of your primary water supply by having it analyzed by a reputable laboratory, and invest in sufficient rain water storage capacity.

Tip 2: Clean your drain water

“We know from the work we have undertaken with the Wageningen University & Research that 100% recycling of drain water is possible today”, says Andrew. Of greatest concern to many growers when recycling drain water is the risk of spreading diseases. So make sure to always disinfect your drain water before using it as irrigation water, by e.g. advanced oxidation.

Tip 3: Manage your nutrients

Why would you discharge valuable nutrients when they can be used again? By accurately managing nutrient levels, growth disorders can be avoided, and crop growth and yield can be optimized. Do not economize on a frequent analysis of slab and drain water (our advice: once a week) and take a close look at the prices of nutrients.

Investing in the future
The global call for reducing the environmental impacts associated with crop production will only increase in the coming years. Andrew adds: “In ten years’ time, I believe we may see a revolution in the way the total irrigation system is designed and operated inside the greenhouse. What is certain is that legislation will be in place across the globe that will prohibit drain water emission to the environment. Thankfully due to collaboration in the chain we have the knowledge and the technology available to start doing this today.”