Hydrorock subsurface water saving technology

Developed by a Dutch company, Hydrorock is an innovative subsurface water saving technology composed of blocks of mineral wool - a rock-based mineral material made into a matted fibre buried in the ground and designed to deliver an optimum and constant supply of water to tree crops. The addition of soil moisture probes and a Smart Farm Sensing remote sensing platform helps monitor soil moisture levels in real time and issue an alert when it is time to irrigate.

Hydrorock has a low, dry bulk density combined with a very high capacity to store water compared to other soil media. It can be used across multiple configurations and is mainly recommended for subsurface irrigation or orchards, either for a completely new irrigation layout or as individual elements connected to an existing system.

Hydrorock blocks can be purchased in different sizes and volumes according to variables tailored to include type of crop, water requirements and capacity of the existing system. The blocks can be installed in line or parallel to the piping network with the number to be guided by the water demand of one day of irrigation during peak season. Each block is sealed in a protective geotextile membrane with only one lateral and the top of the block unsealed.

Water is delivered to a block via a piped irrigation system. Once the Hydrorock element is filled, the water is delivered gradually to the root system. The rate of delivery is dependent upon weather conditions, suction capacity of the roots and soil types. In sandy light soils water can move into the soil at a controlled rate of a few hours, especially in dry areas while in heavy loamy type soils the water will be released more gradually.

Hydrorock blocks can form the basis of a total integrated irrigation system allowing users to monitor soil moisture content, water usage and weather conditions to automatise irrigation scheduling - ensuring timely and precise irrigation.

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