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Published: 02.06.2016

NEW – Adapting to Water Scarcity at Farm Level

Located on the Pacific coast in the Ica Valley desert, it has ideal, sunny weather conditions for growing crops all-year-round, but is impacted by water scarcity. With an annual rainfall of only 3mm per year, the main water source for the farm has been the underground aquifer. However, with agriculture farms booming and more farmers drilling for water, the aquifer levels have dropped from 35m to 50m between 2000 and 2012, and salinity levels have increased. In 2011 the Government issued a regulation prohibiting any new wells to be drilled in the area, forcing local farmers to relocate or adapt to new conditions.

The Ica Home Farm commenced a program to adapt to the new circumstances. In 2011 it installed a Reverse Osmosis (RO) plant that treats 200 000m3/yr of saline groundwater. Between 2012 – 2014, the farm implemented a series of measures to reduce its water withdrawals including the introduction of a new conduction and pruning system for melon seeds, a new grafting technique for watermelons, the installation of moisture sensors and transitioning from soil to soilless cultivation.