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Key Facts About Repurposing Water for Salmon

Imagine having a highly efficient irrigation system for your greenhouse crops that doesn’t impede upon California's strict water-usage regulations and helping support the dwindling salmon populations all at the same time. For some farmers and agriculturalists in the state who've worked with irrigation experts, the collaboration between the two things is just everyday business operation.

Repurposing water for salmon involves cycling water from the salmon tanks to the greenhouses to hydrate growing crops. Once the water has done its duty in the greenhouse, the remainder is pumped back to the salmon tanks for the fish. Both salmon and water are hot-topic conservation issues along the west coast, so taking initiatives to protect both is a wise agricultural decision.

Pacific Salmon Populations Are Highly at Risk

A report released by the American Fisheries Society in 1991 stated that there were already 106 salmon species that have gone extinct, and there were another 214 types of salmon and trout that are at risk of extinction. It’s necessary to make an effort to save the salmon populations that are left, and building salmon farms on California farms could help with those efforts.

Even though salmon farming appears to be a conservation effort for the fish, it is also an ingenious way to help agriculturalists keep the water they need on hand for their large-scale farming operations. With irrigation from natural water resources being limited in California, the salmon tanks help farmers keep accessible water when water-usage restrictions come into play.

Combining Salmon and Crop Farming Cuts Water Usage Drastically

On farms that have a salmon-raising setup, the water from the tanks, which is filled with rich nutrients naturally exuded from the fish, gets funneled to the growing crops. The crops use the water they need and take advantage of the fresh nutrients in it, then they purify the water as it slips through their root system and gets pushed back to the tanks so it is safe for the salmon.

The entire recycling process occurs repeatedly, so the water gets reused, reducing the need for outside water. Superior Fresh, one operation that focuses on Atlantic salmon in the U.S., claimed they were able to recirculate 99.9 percent of their water and use 20 times less water than the average operation. Plus, they were capable of yielding 30 times more leafy greens per square foot.

Crops, Salmon, and Water Experts Are a Requirement

As interesting and simple as it sounds to add a salmon tank or two on property, it is actually a complex process that should involve the proper professionals and the proper agricultural products for production. Repurposing water with salmon is actually a three-prong process:
  • Certain crops benefit most from the water enriched with nutrients from fish.
  • Salmon are the prime fish for use in water-cycling setups because they don't emit toxins that would harm plants.
  • Water experts must be involved to ensure the water quality and cycling methods are precise.
If any of these three factors are askew in the planning and integration process, the repurposing project can be drastically inhibited. The California Aquaculture Association is even on board with salmon farming in California because the water that leaves these farms is oftentimes better quality than it was before it went in.

Overall, repurposing water for use in California's agricultural settings could prove to be beneficial for multiple conservation efforts. With the right water irrigation experts on your side, you could create a setup that grants you the water you need and supports the environment. Reach out to us at Waterford Irrigation Supply for more information about repurposing water for salmon.