Reducing wastewater by farming intelligently

Donnie Maxwell, farm manager of a strawberry farm in Plant City, Florida discusses how the design of their fields helps to save water. Constructed by using various heavy machinery and precise equipment, the strawberry fields are designed to be 48 inches apart on center, with a very slight slope. The fields slope from north to south, and then the water runs through a drainage ditch into a pond where is it re-circulated into the irrigation. This innovative design was developed in part by the Berry Fresh Farms, and the South Florida Water management District to implement cutting-edge technology and conserve water.
This technology is relatively simple—very similar to how the Egyptian Pyramids were built perfectly level. The only difference is that lasers from the 21st century were used to add a slight tilt to the crops. As a result, the excess water is directed carefully downhill into drainage ditches which then deliver the water to a storage pond where it can be re-circulated. As a result of this design, the Farm has been able to recycle about 60% of its water.
This type of recycling is called Tailwater Recovery, where the water is recovered and recycled on the “tail” of post-use end. There, it is captured and re-circulated back through the irrigation system where it can be put to benefit by the strawberry plants, instead of being channeled into a river and wasted.
For more information on this project, visit:
Brian O’Neill

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