Irrigation systems treated with magnets to make water use more efficient sounds rather like science fiction. However, an Australian company, Omni Enviro LLC created a system which uses magnetization to decrease water use on farmland. They claim this occurs through a device called the Agricultural H20 Energizer that is installed at an irrigation source. The device ranges from two to 30 inches in diameter, and can be fitted to various irrigation systems – essentially a big magnet wrapped around an irrigation pipe.
The company claims that its “magnetic resonators create their own broadband electromagnetic field in the water,” which allows the “water’s structural-information to change.”
Don’t ask me what a “broadband electromagnetic field” is, but a University of Western Sydney study says of the use of magnetically treated water:
Irrigation of celery with magnetically treated 3000 ppm saline water and recycled water resulted in 23% and 12% increase in crop yield; and resulted in 24% and 12% increase in water productivity based on fresh weight respectively when compared with the control. The magnetic treatment of water significantly changed P and Ca concentration in celery shoots and in pods of snow peas.
The testimonial section of Omni Enviro’s website contains the testimony of a vineyard farmer who owns 1,800 acres. In 2006, the farmer bought one of the company’s systems to try it out on a section of his farm. After a few days, he compared the section with the system against another section and “noticed the moisture was retained in the soils for days longer in the section that Omni’s magnetic device was used.” The system “paid for itself,” according to the farmer in the first season by “saving 20 to 25 percent water.”
A 1998 study by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) on magnetization stated that the savings from the technology “could be on the order of thousands of dollars each year when the cost of chemicals, labor, and equipment is factored in.” The study lists three areas where the technology mitigates environmental impacts: emissions reductions caused by decreases in fuel combustion, decrease in fuel combustion residues, and a reduction in the release of water treatment chemicals.
According to Omni Enviro’s website, only ten percent of the water stored within a root zone is available for a plant to use, and over 90 percent stored in the root zone is used by evaporation and transpiration.
The company claims the following benefits from installing the system:
- Reduces water usage by a minimum 10 to 30 percent
- Reduce fertilizer use
- Reduce pesticide and herbicide use
- Increase yields by at least 10 percent
- Improve soil pH and remove/dissolve impurities from soils
- Increase water flow
- Makes salty water usable
So is this all hocus pocus, or is Omni actually on to something here?