Drip lines are considered to be the most effective method of watering crops.
Drip lines are considered to be the most effective method of watering crops.

A new filter is helping California’s farmers to combat one of the worst droughts to have ever hit its massive agricultural sector.

The state is currently suffering through a fourth year of drought, and a second year of severe water restrictions for farmers who are being forced to reduce acreage and install more efficient irrigation systems in order to conserve water.

Agriculture accounts for some 80% of California’s water usage, with almond nut trees in particular consuming significant amounts against a backdrop of rising global demand, so successful farming requires careful water management.

Specialized filters

A US filtration specialist has developed specialized filters that are helping farmers to cope with the drought conditions which are now reaching a critical level. Porvair Filtration Group Inc.’s Sinterflo MC metal mesh composite product line - manufactured in Ashland, Virginia - is being deployed with significant results.

These filters are fitted to drip lines, which are considered to be the most effective method of watering crops. They are also environmentally friendly because they prioritise the efficient use of water.

Drip lines, which harness multiple nozzles spread along their length, allow an entire crop to be watered at once so that the plants receive only as much water as they need.

Reclaimed from wells

Californian crops are hydrated using water which is reclaimed from wells. However, there is a danger that this may be contaminated, so it is necessary to fit filters to the head of the drip line to prevent any related blockages. Should the line become blocked, it has to be removed, cleaned and reinstalled - a costly and time-consuming process.

Porvair’s filters are specifically designed to cope with all of the various contaminants that can build up over these nozzles. There are a range of different micron ratings and sizes of filters for use with different types and volumes of water; these are appropriately colour coordinated for ease of recognition.

The product line employs Porvair’s proprietary Sinterflo MC 316L stainless steel metal mesh composite with plastisol sealing gaskets, to ensure that no particulate by-passes the filter. As well as helping to ease the Californian drought, Porvair’s products are used in Florida to provide water to citrus fruit farms, golf courses and botanical gardens.