- Author: Ben Faber
The MOST Cited irrigation articles for 2018-19 in the journal Irrigation Science was just announced. Check them out. One that interested me was conducted in Southern California and looked at the costs of recycled water use in nurseries. The cost aspect makes this water source possible if it is subsidized.
In the U.S., container plant growers use high-quality water sources which can be expensive. The use of recycled irrigation runoff water could save growers money. The objective of this study was to compare the cost of recycled irrigation water with the cost of untreated municipal water at a nursery in Southern California over multiple years. Water cost for municipal (Western) supplied water ranged from $2.26 to $2.91 per 1000 gallons (3785 L). Water capturing and recycling system construction and infrastructure costs accounted for a large portion of recycled water cost. However, water provider rebates and a Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS) grant reduced total and per volume recycled water costs. Without considering rebates from water providers and a NRCS grant, the cost of recycled water was between $0.92 and $1.21 per 1000 gallons (3785 L). With consideration of rebates and the grant, the cost of recycled water ranged between $0.43 and $0.53 per 1000 gallons (3785 L). Thus, recycled water is a viable alternative to many high cost water sources and public funds facilitate adoption of recycled water for irrigation by containerized plant growers.