With worldwide concerns about water scarcity, agriculture is under pressure to improve water management and explore available options to match supply and demand. Desalination is a technical option to increase the availability of freshwater both in coastal areas with limited resources and in areas where brackish waters – such as saline groundwater, drainage water and treated wastewater – are available. Desalinated water can also be crucial in emergency situations where water sources have been polluted by saline incursions. However, desalinated water produced worldwide, estimated at 7 500 million m3 /annum, equals only 0.2 percent of total water use and Agriculture still remains the greatest consumption of our water resources.
Poor quality water can be responsible for slow growth, poor aesthetic quality of the crop and, in some cases, can result in the gradual death of the plants. High soluble salts can directly injure roots, interfering with water and nutrient uptake. Salts can accumulate in plant leaf margins, causing burning of the edges. Water with high alkalinity can adversely affect the pH of the growing medium, interfering with nutrient uptake and causing nutrient deficiencies which compromise plant health.
Desalination is a water saving alternative to brackish water or sea water irrigation. By implication, it could increase the possible sources of water for irrigation, and as such enhance sustainable all‐year round crop production. The low level of salinity of desalinated water is an extra benefit, because the salts [especially Sodium (Na+) and Chlorine (Cl−)] damage soils, stunt plant growth and harm the environment. Hence, desalinated water could improve the quality of irrigation water, thereby reducing the possibilities of the incidence of soil salinity with its consequent adverse effect on crop growth and yield via its deteriorating effects on soil properties. Furthermore, desalination of brackish or sea water could increase the size of land area for cultivation, the number of crops (including salt sensitive crops) cultivated, improve crop quality, increase crop productivity and increase the broad band of water use for other purposes.
Desalination has been reported to improve farmers’ income. OSMO SISTEMI solutions in creating high quality water treatment systems that will generate large quantities of freshwater from unsuitable locations, such as the ocean, sea, rivers, lakes, wells, etc. has made tremendous progress in alleviating the stress from many industries, most of all agriculture.