Open Hydroponics - Risks and Opportunities - Stage 1 Project Findings OverviewNational Program for Sustainable Irrigation Fact Sheet
Land & Water Australia. 2008. Open Hydroponics - Risks and Opportunities - Stage 1 Project Findings Overview. [Online] (Updated June 12th, 2012)
Available at: http://lwa.gov.au/node/1107 [Accessed Tuesday 12th of March 2013 02:45:33 PM ].
Open Hydroponics (OH) is an innovative horticultural management program with over 2700ha currently being adopted in Australia and presents an opportunity for more sustainable production (economic and environmental). Conventional drip irrigation growers are also adopting selected Open Hydroponic principles, which use similar practices and carry the same possible benefits and environmental risks.
OH aims to increase productivity by continuously applying a balanced nutrient mixture (fertigation), limiting the root zone and maintaining the soil moisture near field capacity. The combination of these practices is claimed to provide a greater control and manipulation of nutrient and water uptake. Since very little scientific data on OH is published, the basis and environmental risks of these claims are unknown.
Private diverters have good access to a reliable water supply to conduct OH. Similarly, the adoption of advanced water ordering strategies will ensure a reasonably reliable water supply from a high number of pressurised pipe delivery systems and the majority of channel delivery systems to meet the needs of OH. However, this reliability is variable and highly dependant upon individual circumstances. On-farm water storage was identified as an important risk management strategy and may need to be implemented in some pressurised pipe delivery situations and a significant number of channel delivery situations. A poorly designed and constructed on-farm water storage supply system can have major negative environmental impacts.