An irrigation system in North Africa designed a watering system that allows them to 'listen' to plants cries for water when they get thirsty, and was proved to reduce water use by 30-50%.
Responsive Drip Irrigation (RDI), the world's first water delivery system which utilized an organic chemistry that let plans self-regulate its own water, based this watering system called RDI GrowStreamTM idea on drip irrigation. This benefits not just farmers from rural vegetable farms, but in well-manicured lawns, as well as deserts.
RDI aims to make "crops healthier, grow faster and produce more harvests and higher yield." Its watering system is 'unmatchable' when it comes to water efficiency by only releasing what every plant needs, minute by minute.
Lastly, its ultra-low pressure and flow dramatically reduce energy requirements for pumping water.
Allows Plants to Self-regulate
This method of irrigation allows plants to produce a certain chemical in their roots 'in response to their changing environment', hydrating and increasing food production amidst hyper-arid climates, longer droughts, and shortage in water supply.
This is made possible through installation of tubes under the earth filled with pore-like depressions called micropores, that responds directly to root signals and detect the chemical produced by plants' roots. This will prompt a release of water and nutrients that will continue to drip only when the plant calls for it.
Moreover, this allows farmers to grow vegetables in deserts.
In the United Arab Emirates near Abu Dhabi where vegetables are grown in the desert, the DRI won "BEST INNOVATION BY A STARTUP" at the 2019 GFIA in Abu Dhabi at the Global Forum for Innovations in Agriculture.
Meanwhile in Pakistan near the dry area around Islamabad, vegetables such as tomatoes and bok choy had grown 81% faster and twice as large compared to regular drip irrigation.
'Biggest Hurdle' for Responsive Drip Irrigation (RDI)
The biggest challenge that stops RDI from changing the industry when it comes to irrigation are the established, old ways and traditional methods that are already paid for. This makes it harder to convince farmers especially in certain areas, like California's Central Valley to switch and adopt the RDI's organic delivery system, as farmers in this area have already been using irrigation systems for decades.
Many farmers work together using 'flood' irrigation system in which the extra water used in on one farm flows back into a river or aquifer for the next farmer to use.
DRI has long been established in 14 countries, from rural Zimbabwe to lawns in Utah and Los Angeles in the U.S. Their technology deems to transform crop production in the region, biodiversity and food security, "while ensuring water conservation and creating sustainable cities."
"Wherever there's an issue with water scarcity and food security, we want to be there," said Jan Gould, founder of Responsive Drip Irrigation.
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