After a successful first irrigation season in 2013 the TREAT&USE system is now about to get turned-on once more for the upcoming planting season in Southern Spain to produce a nutrient-rich effluent for the tomato field in Cártama Town.
In June 2013 the installation of the TREAT&USE System has been finished after some delays. However, all carried out primary function tests at the prototype site were successful and it was ensured that all components were working satisfyingly for their own and in system combination. The initial tests verified the appropriate functioning of the system. At the beginning of the project it was necessary to change the location of the test site due to the logistic constraints found to fulfill with the system functioning requirements (e.g. power supply, water supply, etc.). For that reason, an agreement was reached with Cártama Town Hall to install and demonstrate TREAT&USE system during the project timeframe in a field of their property.
The project partner Guadecol has been responsible of planting two varieties of tomatoes at the test site ensuring the adequate conditions for their proper growing. Since it was the first harvest the yield can still be improved in 2014 but in general the TREAT&USE System showed that the idea of treating wastewater with MBRs and fertigation of plants with the effluent is, all in all, a good working possibility to lower the fresh water consumption in areas with a low water supply and to save nutrients in the same way.
For the upcoming irrigation season some changes and improvements will be conducted, such as:
- A better drainage for the soil to see both the water movement and how much water is really consumed. This way, the right amount of water can be applied
- The water analysis showed that some nutrients like potassium are not sufficiently covered by the treated water. Therefore, some extra commercial fertilizer will be added this year.
- An improved drip-pipe system with resulting in an increased infiltration time
- A more advanced irrigation scheme with a timer-based application
The new irrigation season will start in the beginning of June 2014 and grant a full and stable irrigation until September. The upcoming season will be more consistent compared to 2013 and guarantee better harvest results due to the lessons learnt in the previous year.