of Saline and Brackish Water for Food Production
terms saline and brackish water refer to the total dissolved salt
(TDS) content of water. Fresh water has TDS less than 1,000 ppm.
Brackish water refers to salt content within1,000-5,000 ppm. Saline
water has salt content within 15,000-30,000 ppm. and sea water has
salt content within 30,000-40,000 ppm. 98 percent of surface water
on the earth is in the form of sea water and this adds salinity
to the groundwater near the coast, a process known as groundwater
intrusion. There is increasing salinity in inland groundwater due
to wrong agricultural practices using agrochemicals. In many tracts
of Maharashtra, the groundwater is is now, unfit for human use and
for agriculture. This problem is of global magnitude and people
are trying out various costly techniques of making such water usable
because of acute shortage of sweet water. This paper presents a
novel eco-friendly method of converting saline water into sweet
water, without any recurring charges, using a catalyst called BioSanitizer.
Understanding the Root Cause:
solve a problem, one has to understand the root cause of the problem.
One has to ask several "why" questions. Why is the sea
salty? Why is the “Dead Sea” near Israel several times
saltier(we can float on it without getting drowned)? Why do we use
salt in our diet? Why extra salt makes food unpalatable? Why groundwater
salinity and soil salinity is a modern phenomenon in areas where
excessive use of chemical fertilizers killed the soil life? Why
the coconut water is so much relishing though the coconut plant
grows near the sea? Why a dose of salts is recommended if coconut
is to be grown in good quality soil in the inland areas? Why the
thorny prosopis trees abound in the salt-affected areas of Gujarat,
Maharashtra and elsewhere? Why certain crops are salt tolerant?
Why some are more tolerant than others?
doing such thinking for about forty years, Dr Uday Bhawalkar discovered
a natural way to turn saline and brackish water into sweet water,
using BioSanitizer. The actual chemistry cannot be described
here, but it has been around us for about 600 million years and
hence without any side-effects. Right now we can start using the
technique to solve the water scarcity problem and also to convert
salt into an asset, in a more convenient and faster way.
this eco-friendly way to solve the ecological problems, modern man
has been developing only the separation technologies such as distillation,
ion exchange, reverse osmosis, electrodialysis, etc. These involve
heavy capital investment as well as recurring charges and also produce
a concentrated stream that poses higher disposal problems. If it
is disposed on the soil or in the rivers/lakes, it spoils water
resources. The treatment costs are in the range of 10-200 Rs/m3
(depending upon the initial salt level) for 1 MLD plant. The economics
get spoiled for the small plants and getting the funds becomes a
problem for the large plants. We need a technology that is viable
and attractive at both small as well as large scale.
of saline soils, too, is often attempted without the "root-cause"
approach. Focus is laid on leaching of the salts from the soil,
only to spoil the groundwater. The BioSanitizer converts
the salts into a form that converts them into plant nutrients
and human food(like the coconut water), making saline water a potential
resource for man, as food, fertilizer or fuel. The logic of this
research is described in detail at the website http://www.biosanitizer.com/.
some plants know how to use the salts for their nutrition. While
thorny plants like prosopis(gand babul, as known in Gujarat) and palm
trees can use salts readily, food crops can utilize the
salts only if available in dilute form. An example in everyday practice
is similar and can be used to understand the phenomenon. While a
1,000 Rs note is acceptable in big shops, you are respected in a
local bus only if you have money in 10 or 20 Rs notes form. If somebody
in the bus opts to give us a change, without charging a heavy commission,
there is no problem. BioSanitizer action is similar. It converts
the high salt level into multiple bundles of small salt levels and
now every plant can use this "bundled or quantumized"
saline water. One can now grow even the food crops and improve the
soil while doing this, without using chemical fertilizers.
now, BioSanitizer can be used up to about 5,000 ppm salinity
and further development is on to make it work at higher levels,
up to the sea water’s salinity. It can also potentially be
used to solve the fluoride, arsenic(or other heavy metals) contamination
in the groundwater or even to tackle the radioactive contamination
in groundwater or in the soils and crops.
BioSanitizer has been successfully used to treat brackish groundwater
and salt-affected soils in several tracts of Maharashtra. The method
involves putting a single charge of BioSanitizer catalyst,
about 1 gram per well/bore well.
Within a day, he can notice the sweet water with his tongue. Tongue
and other human senses are more sensitive than man-made instruments
and the problem has been perceived by man with the help of tongue
and eyes(salt layer on the soil). Thus a farmer can judge the BioSanitizer
action without sophisticated instruments. Moreover, we do not yet
understand the salt chemistry to be able to do the measurements
and judge. Coconut water has about 3,000 ppm salt content, yet is
palatable to the tongue and useful to the body. BioSanitizer action cannot
be judged by drop in the TDS or in the electrical conductivity of
water. The drop may not be significant in some cases.
BioSanitizer-treated water is used for irrigation, the soil improves its
quality automatically. The crops grow healthy without any doses
of chemical or organic fertilizers.
approach of treating the saline soils and saline water cannot solve
the problem in totality. We need a root-cause approach. BioSanitizer
is an eco-friendly product that is a result of about forty years
of eco-friendly research. This methodology has been found to
be effective for solving the water quality problems. It can also
potentially be used to solve several other natural problems
such as droughts, floods, cyclones and earthquakes.