“Aquaponics blends the best of hydroponics (using 90% less water than soil-based agriculture) and aquaculture (relieves the fish harvesting pressure from the oceans), while solving the significant inherent problems of each system (chemical fertilizers and fish waste disposal). Aquaponics is quite possibly the most sustainable growing technique ever created.” Sylvia Bernstein founder Aquaponic Source and Author “Aquaponic Gardening: A step by step guide to raising fish and plants together”
When I started in aquaponics, I had no clue as to the benefits that I was about to reap over conventional soil based gardening. Of the largest, I believe for me personally, was the conservation of water.
My outdoor garden consists of 32 4 X 8 raised garden beds, full of compost, soil, and manure. Once planted, it is very necessary to watch weather forecasts as to the amount of coming rain. Natural rain water is good for the garden, but in recent years seems to have been lacking from previous years.
I must supplement from the lack of rainfall, so my irrigation is running far more than I would like it to. My water bill in summer months can be as high as 4 times my winter bills! That seems funny since on the east coast, I am completely surrounded by water: living in between tributaries off the Chesapeake Bay.
The world is mostly water, I believe about 70% of the surface is covered by water, yet useable, potable water is less than 2% without some form or filtration. Many land locked countries are screaming for a usable water source just to sustain their population.
- According to the United Nations, 31 countries are now facing water scarcity and 1 billion people lack access to clean drinking water.
- Water consumption is doubling every 20 years and yet at the same time, water sources are rapidly being polluted, depleted, diverted and exploited by corporate interests ranging from industrial agriculture and manufacturing to electricity production and mining.
- The World Bank predicts that by 2025, two-thirds of the world’s population will suffer from lack of clean and safe drinking water.
- Agriculture is a major user of ground and surface water in the United States, accounting for 80 percent of the Nation’s consumptive water use and over 90 percent in many Western States.
- It takes 1,000 tons of water to produce just one ton of grain.
Utilizing my aquaponics systems year round, I use 90% less water than I would for an equivalent sized raised bed. Since the Aquaponic System reuses and filters the water in a constant cycle, I lose very little water. Actually the only regular water loss is due to evaporation.
Evaporation causes me to replenish my tanks about 5% or less per two weeks. This is roughly 5-10 gallons per tank, a far cry less than leaving my irrigation system on to run full force for hours at a time each day of no rain. Also utilizing a water catchment system, rainwater can be used to replenish the tanks, causing NO excess water usage.
I am trying to stay as sustainable as possible on our little 1/5 acre suburban homestead, It allows us to conserve vital planet resources like water, but in the long run keeps a little extra cash in my pocket as well.
Want to learn more about aquaponics sustainable gardening and live in the Chesapeake Bay area? Check out the upcoming classes on aquaponics?