World Water Day, held annually on March 22, highlights the significance of freshwater and encourages sustainable management of water resources. The day aims to address the global water crisis and support the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 6: Water and Sanitation for All by 2030.
One way to support this goal is through water-saving practices in hydroponic farming.
Agriculture accounts for 70% of all freshwater withdrawals globally, and 40% of the water used by farmers is lost due to poor irrigation systems and inadequate water management. Hydroponic systems can reduce water usage significantly, with plants using only 10% of the water compared to conventionally field-grown plants. This is because hydroponic systems reuse or recirculate water, minimising water loss due to evaporation and leaks.
Hydroponics also reduces environmental damage caused by overexploitation and intensive farming, allowing for more rational use of water. This can result in hydroponic crops becoming more profitable and easier to control, which in turn combats food security and safety issues, especially in developing countries.
In the last couple of years, large investments have been made in hydroponic smart farms that incorporate geolocation, big data, artificial intelligence, and automation technologies to optimise crop yields. By eliminating the need for soil and utilising nutrient solutions, hydroponics has the potential to revolutionise modern agriculture, making it more efficient, sustainable, and productive. Advanced technologies like these enable growers to monitor and control the growth of plants, resulting in lower water consumption, no need for herbicides or pesticides, less contamination, adaptation to extreme weather or challenging growing conditions, higher yields and improved quality of crops.
On top of everything, hydroponic vegetables may contain up to 50% more A, B, C, and E vitamins than conventional crops. Therefore, by growing your own food at home hydroponically, you can impact water use globally, improve health and nutrition, and reduce your carbon footprint.
How do our daily lives make a difference in conserving water?
In addition to adopting hydroponic farming, we can take other actions recommended by the UN to conserve water, such as turning off sleeping technology, shopping sustainably, taking shorter showers, and reducing food waste. These small changes in our daily lives can make a significant difference in conserving water and promoting sustainable practices.
It's important for everyone to be informed and educated about water conservation and take part in building sustainable practices in our everyday lives. Let's all do our part to tackle the global water crisis and support World Water Day.