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The Crucial Role of an Agricultural Water Filter System

A common mistake among the general public is to separate farming from other industries, like mining and manufacturing, labelling the latter as responsible for most water consumption. In practice, statistics show that the nation’s farms consume around 65% of South Africa’s water. By contrast, collectively, all other industries account for just 11% of total usage. More farmers need to instal an agricultural water filter system if we are serious about overcoming the growing nationwide supply shortage.

Much of that consumed on our farms is used to irrigate crops. The water that is not utilised directly will drain into the subsoil to feed underground aquifers or evaporate, to fall elsewhere as rain. Filtration and evaporation each help to remove most of the chemical contaminants such as pesticides and fertilisers. While many farms collect and repurpose rainwater, much of the primary source relied upon by livestock breeders will become heavily contaminated by animal waste. An agricultural water filter system offers a practical and economical means for owners to recycle the wastewater produced by dairy, beef and game farms for further use.

Filtration takes many forms, of which the simplest involves passage through granular materials such as sand. In this case, the action is mechanical. Solid particles present in wastewater become trapped in the tiny spaces between the sand grains. More efficient options depend on advanced technologies that can remove both dissolved and undissolved substances. These technologies include reverse osmosis and ion exchange and often form part of an agricultural water filter system.

Reverse Osmosis (RO)

This technique derives from that used by plants to distribute dissolved nutrients and maintain rigid stems. Dissolved solids exert pressure proportionate to their concentration. Suppose the solute concentrations on either side of a plant cell wall differ. In that case, water migrates from the high-pressure side until the pressure on the other side is equal. In an RO system, pressure applied externally will force all the solvent through a semi-permeable membrane, leaving the dry solute behind for disposal or retrieval. Following coarse filtration, RO and subsequent treatments can ensure the output from an agricultural water filter system will be potable if required. Combining the solids obtained from coarse filtration with decorating plant and vegetable matter provides nutrient-rich compost as a by-product.

Ion Exchange

The anionic and cationic resins used in this technique won’t remove bacteria and insoluble matter. However, they can selectively remove toxins present in wastewater, such as lead and other heavy metals. Consequently, the ion exchange step can be a valuable addition to an agricultural water filter system in some circumstances.

Talk to Watericon about cost-effective technology to reclaim your farm’s wastewater.