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Report on best practices in water circularity for CEA operations

August 14, 2023  By Resource Innovation Institute

Aug. 14, 2023 – Resource Innovation Institute (RII), a not-for-profit energy and water benchmarking organization for CEA producers, announced the availability of its Water Circularity Best Practices Guide for Controlled Environment Agriculture Operations.

“This report is the result of a comprehensive, collaborative effort between equipment manufacturers, academia, regulators, utility providers and RII’s in-house experts,” said Derek Smith, Executive Director of Resource Innovation Institute, in a press release. “It is the first comprehensive guide on water efficiency in CEA in North America.”

According to Smith, environmental sustainability is just one reason to implement water efficiency best practices. As reported in a 2016 study from Alberta, Canada, resource efficiency also makes a direct impact on a CEA facility’s bottom line. For example, the study found that recirculating irrigation water has been shown to reduce water consumption by 20 to 40 per cent and fertilizer costs by 40 to 50 per cent.


The Water Circularity Best Practices Guide covers topics such as reducing irrigation water use in hydroponic and horticultural substrate culture, reducing the use of climate control water and process water, how to recapture water and other critical issues.

“Any size operation will be able to implement the best practices for reducing water consumption identified in this report,” Smith said. “Larger or more advanced facilities can apply the strategies for recycling and remediating multiple water streams using physical, chemical, and biological technologies, putting them on the path to become zero-discharge facilities. There really is a comprehensive focus to this guide that will be beneficial for everyone.”

Through actionable tips and tools on the operational benefits of adopting water-saving practices, the guide offers practical solutions to reduce, remediate and recycle a CEA facility’s water usage.

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