Agricultural Irrigation with Salt Water

Posted on June 7, 2009  Comments (8)

Irrigation system can grow crops with salt water

A British company has created an irrigation system that can grow crops using salt water. The dRHS (Dutyion Root Hydration System) 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.

The dRHS system, which has been in development for ten years, was initially trialled in the UK using tomato plants, and has since been tried out in the US. The next trials will take place in Chile, Libya, Tanzania, Mauritius and Spain. Tonkin says 20,000 metres of pipe are on their way to the Middle East, where it will be tested with water that’s more saline than sea water.

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.

Christopher Gasson from Global Water Intelligence magazine says that the competition was a three-way tie last year but this year, the winner stood out. “The dRHS irrigation system addressed a bigger problem than the other technology that it was competing against,” he said. “Agriculture water is where 70 per cent of water goes. By 2025 two thirds of the world’s population will experience water shortages and so farming will be badly hit.

This is good news. I am still skeptical that this is as good as the article makes it sound. Just as simple as “flushing out the pipes.” But I am hopeful we will find desalination-type solutions. Clean water is a huge problem facing the world now, basically I just figure with enough engineers focused on finding workable solutions we will find several that have a huge impact. If not, we are in real trouble.

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8 Responses to “Agricultural Irrigation with Salt Water”

  1. Sheila
    June 7th, 2009 @ 4:14 pm

    I am kinda thinking on the same lines. This article seems to good to be true. It would be a huge success if this actually works.

  2. Anonymous
    June 7th, 2009 @ 5:10 pm

    Great news… this could be one of those inventions that changes everything. Perfect timing, too, given the recent price increases in food. I’ve even heard they’ve considered utilizing the technology in Utah out in the deserts near Bountiful.

  3. Anonymous
    June 11th, 2009 @ 12:55 am

    I think this is the key to the future of water technology. It’s imperative we provide clean water to those in need like Dean Kamen’s water purifier.

  4. Martin
    June 18th, 2009 @ 5:43 am

    With the recent surge of interest in mega solar projects, there have been concerns about how much water these will use. It would be great if they could use salt water as well, although that would shift the geographic focus for these project. Arizona is a long way from the ocean.

    “By 2025 two thirds of the world’s population will experience water shortages and so farming will be badly hit.” – That is truly scary, and there is also going to be a shortage of mined phosphorous, which is vital for conventional food production.

  5. Zach Hall
    September 23rd, 2009 @ 4:01 pm

    Ocean water contains Phosphorous right? If they could filter ocean water, it is possible that they could glean the phosphorous from the water that is pumped inland. When we filter solutes out of the water, something must be done with the solutes anyway. Just flushing the pipes out back into waterways could throw off ecosystems. For instance, the phosphorous filtered out of the water could potentially result in algal blooms when flushed out into a lake or gulf(

  6. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Solar-Powered Desalination
    April 12th, 2010 @ 8:58 am

    […] Agricultural Irrigation with Salt Water – Cheap Drinking Water From Seawater by curiouscat   Tags: Engineering, Products […]

  7. m aziz
    September 7th, 2012 @ 5:43 am

    i am a agriculturist belong to pakistan. i have the land where only salty water of under ground is available.if it is posible to grow crops like tomato it is a great achivement for human.kindly send me the details please.

  8. karthikeyan
    June 14th, 2014 @ 6:57 am

    i belonging to a agricultural family. we have one submercible motor system, but the water is 75% salt.kindly can u tell me how to recover from this problem.thanking you.

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