Water challenges

The impact of water scarcity is the greatest challenge to agricultural production. Over 1.2 billion people – 20 percent of the world’s population – live in areas where the limits of sustainable water use have already been reached or breached. These include many of the world’s breadbasket areas: the North China Plains, the Murray Darling River, the Colorado River and the Indus. To raise and keep up productivity, it will be necessary to deliver water to crops more efficiently and to increase yields per liter of water. 

Although water is clearly increasingly scarce and valuable, humanity seems to largely ignore the fact that there is a finite supply of fresh water. 

Growing water stress and misuse of fresh water pose serious threats to sustainable development. As populations expand and economies grow, the competition for limited supplies intensifies. 

Agriculture is not only the world's largest water user today, but also the most subsidized and least efficient. Worldwide, the sector is facing the double challenge of having to increase output and decrease water use. 

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Technology helps to make agriculture more water-efficient. Irrigation water can be produced from non-conventional sources not typically used for production of drinking water: polluted surface water, (municipal) wastewater or even seawater. Depending on the type of crop, different requirements may apply to the irrigation water. Foods to be consumed uncooked, such as fruit and certain vegetables, need the highest water quality to prevent microbiological contamination. 
Membrane technology is the best treatment option to guarantee a safe water supply that consistently meets the requirements for any specific application. Some agricultural environments offer good opportunities for water recycling and reuse. In others, technologically advanced irrigation systems designed to minimize water use demand specific treatment methods to prevent problems. 


Pentair Advanced Filtration delivers innovative water treatment solutions that will help manage water resources as efficiently as possible. From preparing high-spec irrigation water for certain crops to treating wastewater for reuse, we build the systems that will contribute to the bottom line and the to protection of precious natural resources. Our solutions diminish the overall water footprint of agricultural operations and allow our customers to operate with much higher efficiency.
Ultrafiltration is part and parcel of the newest generation of highly water-efficient irrigation systems. These include sensor-controlled sprinklers, drip irrigation, hydroculture and aquaponics (food production that combines hydroculture with aquaculture or fish farming in a symbiotic environment). Levels of suspended solids will have to be controlled, either at the intake or in a circulation system. Membrane technology has proven to be the best treatment option.

Treatment solutions

  • (Waste)water recycling and reuse 
  • Effluent polishing and influent polishing 
  • Biological wastewater treatment
  • Removal of all microbiology 
  • Pretreatment for reverse osmosis/desalination 
  • High solids removal from irrigation systems
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