Tuesday, November 3, 2009: 1:00 PM
Convention Center, Room 323, Third Floor
Reclaimed water has been used safely and successfully for citrus irrigation in
Florida for more than 20 years. Agricultural irrigation used to be the primary user of reclaimed water. Use of this water has steadily increased in Florida since 1992, but the reclaimed water flow to public access, golf course, and residential irrigation is now more than 4.9 times greater than agricultural irrigation. Studies on well drained sandy soils have shown that very high irrigation application rates can promote better citrus tree growth. Concentration of total juice soluble solids was usually lowered by the high irrigation rate, but total soluble solids per hectare were significantly higher due to greater fruit production. Reclaimed water can provide some micronutrients such as boron, but does not provide sufficient nitrogen for good crop growth. With extended spring droughts and more common use, public acceptance of reclaimed water has increased. While California growers have accepted reclaimed water for vegetable irrigation, Florida tomato growers do not want to use reclaimed water because of perceived, but scientifically unfounded, concerns over food safety. With increasing population, reclaimed water will continue to play an important role in overall Florida water management.