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Home > Feature Articles > Landscaping > Landscaping Irrigation Strategies for Conserving Water Supplies and Quality

Irrigation System by Aqua-PhyD Reduces Soil Compaction and Salt Accumulation to Foster Plant Growth for Golf & Agri

Aqua-PhyD water efficiency technology based on reducing soil compaction with energy-charged irrigation to save water and fertilizer, and improve crop yields.

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Hydro Electric Irrigation Solution for Agriculture and Landscapes

Golf courses have been notoriously high consumers of water and chemicals for grass and manicured course maintenance. And so does agriculture. But it's not only the amount of water being used, it's the quality of our water that matters. Due to lower aquifers, more minerals and salts are accumulating. Due to runoff, saltwater incursions, and pesticides and fertilizers -- runoff is deteriorating water quality -- and that decreases plant absorption of necessary nutrients. These pollutants bind soil...and the soil the needs to be opened up so nutrients can become more soluble. When that happens, landscapers and farmers can use both less water, and less fertilizer for optimal plant growth.

Aqua-PhyD, Inc., makes a unique and proprietary water efficiency technology based on reducing soil compaction with energy-charged irrigation, "We know that we can safely achieve a 10% water savings in about any environment, but we've seen savings of upwards of 30% in some areas," says Craig Donahue.

Paul Donahue and Liam Shanahan are founders and co-inventors of this hydro-electric generator solution. They based Aqua-PhyD, Inc. in Irvine, California in 2004 with a "Green" company water conservation agenda. However, understanding the need to prove its business model and technology in a clearly defined market, the Company targeted the high profile US Golf industry where significant volumes of fresh water are used daily.

Field Applications in Golf Courses and Agriculture

Today, the Aqua-PhyD technology is in use on several golf courses. Each course has demonstrated a reduction in soil compaction, saving on water consumption, and conspicuous, visual evidence of greener, healthier turf.

As the water enters the Aqua-PhyD unit, it gets an electrical charge. When the sprinklers are on, that charged water breaks down the soil to allow more drainage. More drainage means more water gets to the roots and that means greener grass and less water use.

Aqua-PhyD is currently being marketed to the golf industry, but are expanding to bigger applications like city parks and recs departments, not to mention agriculture - which is biggest user of water, with up to 80% of California's water use.

Aqua-PhyD is being tested in the university (Fresno State, New Mexico U, and UCI) and the agriculture sector with tests on major farms for water and soil treatment to measure water conservation and enhanced plant growth.

Soil Compaction

The USDA has identified soil compaction as a significant problem for optimal crop growth. "The most common causes of soil compaction or hardpans are tractors, harvesting equipment and implement wheels traveling over moist soils. Soil compaction can reduce plant growth, reduce root penetration, reduce root size and distribution, restrict water and air movement in the soil, result in water and nutrient stresses and cause slow seedling emergence. Research has shown that compaction can reduce yields up to 50% in some areas depending upon the depth of compaction and its severity." USDA, Agricultural Research Service, Impact of Soil Compaction on Soil Physical, Hydraulic Properties and Yields.

Solving Soil Compaction Problems for Plant Growth

How much water and fertilizers you have to put on your grass and soil is not as important as how much water gets into the soil. Compaction is the enemy.

The impact of soil compaction on soil’s physical condition is evident through the reduction of soil hydraulic properties such as infiltration rate and hydraulic conductivities. This can lead to excessive runoff and soil erosion, temporary perched water tables, deep wheel tracks and traction problems with self-propelled irrigation systems. Soil compaction also contributes to the lateral redistribution of applied water and chemicals from high to low lying areas within a field. Excessive water accumulations further reduce yields and/or crop quality by stresses due to excessive soil moisture (opposite problem) in the low areas. These water collection areas are believed to be the major locations where leaching of pollutants to the water table occurs. This is all compounded by spatial variability of soil texture, slope, pest infestations, various nutrients, crop growth patterns and rooting characteristics, furrow orientation and even center pivot wheel tracks.

The development of farming practices that minimize soil disturbance and compaction are essential for maintaining soil structure and eliminating the need for radical post-harvest soil treatments. Therefore, research is needed to develop best and sustainable agricultural management practices that prevent/reduce soil compaction, improve soil physical and hydraulic properties and improve the ecological and environmental sustainability of agronomic crop production in the NGP.

To meet these goals, we have established field experiments to quantify spatial and temporal distributions of soil compaction (penetration resistance) under various dryland and irrigated crop sequence, tillage and irrigation management systems, and to help assess their interaction on soil physical and hydraulic properties as well as the yield and quality of sugar beets, potatoes, and malt barley. SOURCE: USDA, ARS

On golf courses, carts, golfers, chemicals, reclaimed water, wind, heat, and even heavy raindrops will compact soil and prevent water from penetrating the soil. Compaction causes runoff, standing water, yellow and brown spots. Compaction denies water penetration to needy roots that grow a healthy plant.

Aqua-PhyD's Hydro Electric Generator Infuses Water with Electrical Charge

Aqua-PhyD's technology installs into the main water supply line to treat water using only the normal irrigation water pressure and flow.

The flow of irrigation water is used to hydro-electrically generate electrical energy which is in the unique form of energy waves that are resonant with earth and soil.

Resonant frequency energy waves are then induced into the flowing irrigation water with the result that the energy waves travel unimpeded through the irrigation system and through the sprinkler or drip system to then move freely and efficiently through soil with each drop of treated water.

This results in a rapid release of soil compaction, improved hydraulic conductivity of water in soil, increased solubility of nutrients and minerals, flushing of salts from plant roots, and stimulation of plant and root growth.

Cleaner Irrigation Pipes and Drip Systems

A side benefit of using energy waves in irrigation water is that irrigation pipes and drip systems are continuously cleared of calcium and chemical buildup.

Natural Energy Generation

When we think of energy, we think of burning our natural resources, but this hydro-energy comes from the natural process of water in motion. And this low-electrical charge replicates the same process rainwater undergoes during a thunderstorm...water is infused with energy. This process provides similar processes that make the water more accessible...softer, as the romantics among us would describe it!

Aqua-PhyD, Inc.
17155 Von Karman, Suite 112
Irvine, CA 92614

Edited by Carolyn Allen, owner/editor of California Green Solutions
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