The Resource Innovation Institute (RII), a non-profit organization specializing in energy and water benchmarking, has released the Water Circularity Best Practices Guide for Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) Operations. The guide, available for free download, is intended to provide information and guidelines to indoor farms and greenhouses.
The guide is a product of collaboration between equipment manufacturers, academics, regulators, utility providers, and RII’s experts. Derek Smith, Executive Director of RII, described it as the first comprehensive guide on water efficiency in CEA in North America.
Water Efficiency and Economic Impact
The guide emphasizes both environmental sustainability and resource efficiency. It cites a 2016 study from Alberta, Canada, suggesting that recirculating irrigation water may reduce water consumption by 20-40% and decrease fertilizer costs by 40-50%.
Topics Covered For Water Efficiency
The Water Circularity Best Practices Guide covers topics such as reducing irrigation water use in hydroponic and horticultural substrate culture, minimizing the use of climate control water and process water, and methods for recapturing water.
Applicability to Various Operations
Smith stated that the guide could be implemented by operations of any size. It includes strategies for recycling and remediating multiple water streams using various technologies, with the potential for some facilities to become zero-discharge.
The guide offers tips and tools to reduce, remediate, and recycle a CEA facility’s water usage. It is available for download here or from RII’s resource catalog.