Fabbri Ag Services Taps into Affordable Water Source to Sustain High Value Crops with High Efficiency Water Solution
As California farmers face zero water allocations following one of the driest periods on record in California, one central valley farm is partnering with Desalitech, a supplier of high-efficiency water solutions, to irrigate farmland from a brackish aquifer in the San Joaquin Valley. This aquifer is large and easily accessible, but due to increasing salinity levels after decades of pumping and drought, it has been rendered unusable for many kinds of agriculture. Fabbri Ag Services is using a Desalitech ReFlex reverse osmosis system featuring advanced Closed Circuit Desalination (CCD) technology to provide affordable irrigation water and minimize waste generation and energy consumption.
By utilizing a dormant brackish aquifer, Fabbri Ag Services is making efficient use of local water resources without burdening the state’s already strained reservoir system. The installed Desalitech reverse osmosis system provides Fabbri with 300 gallons per minute of irrigation water to supply about 40 acres of land at a farm near Bakersfield, California. The water it produces is highly pure so that it can be used to support high value crops like almonds and grapes.
“Water is essential for agriculture. Desalitech is providing a lifeline that will help us sustain crops when drought conditions persist and water deliveries are halted. Desalitech’s solutions are uniquely capable of purifying water with variable composition, making it possible for us to use this abundant but poor water source,” said Jeff Fabbri, CEO of Fabbri Ag Services. “We are able to maximize water use efficiency and consume less energy than with any other system we’ve seen. Desalting the aquifer represents a sustainability plan that will let us diversify our water sources in years when supply is low.”
Conventional reverse osmosis processes are unmanageable for most inland applications because of the high costs of energy consumption and disposing residuals from the process. Desalitech’s ReFlex reverse osmosis system reduces the costs of reverse osmosis treatment by efficiently managing the concentration of salts, thereby maximizing water utilization, and cutting energy consumption by 35 percent or more. This changes the economics of inland desalination, making it possible for Fabbri Ag Services to affordably supplement irrigation supplies at its locations.
“Water is one of the most valuable and scarce assets California farmers have, and there has rarely been a shortage as severe as the one the state is experiencing now,” said Nadav Efraty, Desalitech CEO. “Agricultural water supply is an economic issue that affects more than just California farmers. It affects food prices and the availability for consumers across the country. That’s why we’re proud that Desalitech’s advanced water solutions address both economics and environmental impact, providing a reliable, flexible water resource that can help sustain farms through severe drought.”
Desalitech’s ReFlex system has three distinct advantages that make inland reverse osmosis desalination not only possible but attractive:
High Water Use Efficiency: The Fabbri installation operates at a recovery rate of at least 87 percent, and has already been demonstrated at 94 percent; this results in up to a four-fold reduction in concentrate volume compared to conventional RO systems that typically top out at 75 percent recovery.
High Reliability: Brackish groundwater is notorious for changing composition and temperature on a seasonal or sometimes daily basis. Desalitech’s system automatically adapts to feed water variations, producing consistent product water quality with reduced operating costs.
Low Energy Consumption: The ReFlex system delivers superior performance while consuming 35 percent less energy than conventional RO systems that would require multiple stages to achieve similar recovery rates. Compared to thermal or solar desalination systems, energy requirements can be divided by a factor of 20.
“Increasingly, the economics and environmental aspects of water are closely linked. Desalitech is committed to being the leading solution provider for high efficiency water and effluent treatment,” said Efraty. “We are only beginning to see how we can change the world.”
Desalitech is a provider of ReFlex high-recovery water production and effluent treatment solutions that deliver superior performance at lower costs. Its patented next-generation Closed-Circuit Desalination (CCD) solutions represent the first major improvement in reverse osmosis water treatment in decades, achieving more efficient use of water resources, reduced emission of brine waste, and lower power consumption using standard off-the shelf components. ReFlex systems are uniquely capable extracting purified water from challenging sources and adjusting to highly variable water conditions, making them ideal for industrial water and effluent treatment, agricultural water supply and inland brackish desalination. Desalitech was named to the prestigious 2013 Global Cleantech 100 for its innovations in the water sector.
About Fabbri Ag Services
Fabbri Ag Services is a multi-generational agricultural operating company with experience growing more than 30 commercial crops in California’s San Joaquin Valley, the highest yielding and most profitable farming area in the world. With roots as a family business dating back to 1938, Fabbri Ag Services is focused on acquiring, developing, and managing high value agricultural assets for clients and partners. Its diverse and highly qualified team has over 100 years of combined experience in the agricultural and food manufacturing businesses and currently owns, leases or manages over 10,000 acres in the San Joaquin Valley.