Part of this interview was published in the March issue of American Fruit Grower magazine. 

Q: What is the most relevant irrigation issue for fruit growers California in 2021?

The most relevant irrigation issue for growers is the efficiency of how each irrigation set is utilized and penetrate the soil. Many growers have issues with penetration and major evaporation of irrigation water due to poor soil quality. The efficiency of irrigation is so important here on the west coast because of drought and water quality, and due to salinity issues and crystallization of important elements that are not available. Using AQUA4D® technology helps restore soils and improve soil health while accomplishing the seemingly paradoxical: solving salt issues while using less water as no water-intensive washing of the soil is required. With new water-smart agtech, the water penetration potential of each irrigation set is enhanced to make every drop count, minimizing water waste and carrying important nutrients to the root zone where it belongs.

Q: What is one thing that fruit growers should know about irrigation that they might not already realize?

One thing about water that many do not know is the importance of the structure of water molecules and how hydrophobic/hydrophilic forces affect the interaction of their water with their soils. Through academic collaborations across the world, our mission at AQUA4D is to bring this issue to the forefront. Our technology enables true “precision irrigation”, allowing more frequent irrigation with less volume, and keeping soils moist for longer. We are transforming the relation between irrigation water and soils, and restoring degraded lands.

Installation in the Central Valley, California

Q: How will you be able to help western US growers especially in California where the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act is in play when the next drought occurs?

California is responsible for 80% of the nation’s food supply and a major export to the global market. With the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, we see the scarcity of water under the present demand and conditions that farmers are deprived of the very essential resource to grow that food. An ancient Chinese proverb said, “When you drink the water, remember the spring.” Meanwhile, soil salinity is increasing across the west coast as the rest of the world. Desperate times call for sustainable measures, and reducing the need of water for the leaching of salt is one of the major aspects AQUA4D achieves. Our technology increases water penetration and reduces the EC without the need of major irrigation sets for leaching purposes. As well as this, AQUA4D helps drought adaptation by enabling a general reduction in irrigation water, making the water stay in the root zone longer that non-treated water.

Q: What advice do you have for western US growers in the meantime?

We advise growers to get in contact with us to see how we can save input costs and valuable resources at the same time, utilizing every drop of water to its maximum potential. With research and testimony from farmers and universities from all over the world, we have shown the game-changing effects on agriculture that AQUA4D can offer to those looking for the next step in future-proof agricultural practices.

Q: Do you have any products available or in the pipeline specifically designed to help growers cut way back on their water usage?

Our product is especially designed to help growers cut back on water usage by creating a hydrophilic effect, keeping the moisture levels longer in the rhizosphere, minimizing the crystallization and increasing the absorption of important nutrients that helps plants and trees grow exponentially. We are very proud our one-of-a-kind technology, knowing that we are going to minimize the need for over irrigating due to salinity and unavailable nutrients from crystallization. We ensure every irrigation cycle penetrates the soil and minimizes evaporation factors, while increasing the growth potential of every orchard.

Q: What other products might your company have to offer fruit growers in terms of irrigation?

We work with multiple technology-driven companies to help assess the data to show the effects and efficiency of AQUA4D® water-smart tech. Companies like AquaSpy helps us with monitoring our moisture levels and EC readings, drone technology from Aerobotics show the vital health of trees with state-of-the-art imaging, and meters from 2Grow collect data on xylem flow and stem diameter growth. Utilizing these very important technological advances in agriculture are the next phase of monitoring the health of your orchard and moisture levels in the rootzone to properly navigate irrigation schedules and nutrient programs.

Find out more about AQUA4D’s water-smart projects around the world: 

  • California

  • Water-Smart Agriculture

  • Precision Irrigation

Jeff Nunes, Technical Manager, AQUA4D California

Jeff has been working in cutting-edge agtech for the past few decades. Heavily involved in innovative hemp cultivation, he’s been part of the growing AQUA4D team in California since 2019.

david clay with aqua4d skidDavid Clay, Market Manager, AQUA4D California

An agronomy and crop science expert, David came to AQUA4D after years working for some of the biggest names in irrigation, including Netafim, Jain and PureSense.