If you’re in California, the drought is something that is on everyone’s minds. The prospect of having little to no water is a scary thought. That’s why water wise farming methods like aquaponics are really getting a good look as a way to mitigate the drought in certain areas. While our wells have not run dry, I am taking steps to make sure I have enough water in the future for the aquaponics system. I think that a combination of well water and rainwater is the best way to conserve the well water and to help with better water chemistry. As I’ve shared before, our water has 200ppm of sodium. That’s not a good level for lettuce and other vegetables. Usually, you want sodium between 40-80ppm for most plants. Lettuces like even less.
To help solve for the drought and the sodium problem, we’ve installed some tanks on the side of the greenhouse and fish house to collect the water from the greenhouse gutters. I had one tank set up last year and it worked great. Actually, I had two tanks and the collecting part went really well. One of the tanks had a massive leak and so I basically just had one working tank.
Now I have a 5000 gallon and a 1500 gallon tank set up for collecting the rainwater. Soon, we will install three more 5000 gallon tanks under the gutters of the building that houses the laboratory and cricket room. Looking at the amount of water I use from my records, it looks like I use about 25 gallons per day in the Aquaponics system since the expansion to the third trough. For awhile, I only had two troughs in the system.