Demonstration of sustainable crop growth using production water treated with solar membrane distillation technology: A case study

Ismail Al-Rashdi, Ahmed Al-Maskri, Mattheus F A Goosen, Imad Haffar, Ali Al-Nuaimi, Mansour Al-Hadhabi, Linus Opara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


This paper summarizes the establishment of a demonstration pilot farm at a dessert environment for sustainable crop growth using reed-bed-outlet production water that was treated with solar membrane distillation (i.e., Solar Dew) technology. Specifically, land preparation, plot layout, and the design and installation of an irrigation system were described. Plant tissue analysis indicated that there was no build-up of heavy metals. Analysis of soil over the test period showed that there was a slight build-up of salts. This was attributed to the use of sewage treatment plant water prior to irrigation with Solar Dew water. The salt content of the treated water varied from low (i.e., 11 mg/L) to acceptable (i.e., 122 mg/L). Due to the lower than expected fresh water production capacity of the solar membrane distillation system (i.e., 4 L/m2d vs. 5 L/ m2d), the field testing of crops was limited to date palm and citrus trees. Some problems were encountered with the novel desalination system. Recommendations were included in the paper. Overall, it was successfully demonstrated that sustainable crop growth could be achieved using reed-bed-outlet production water that had been treated with Solar Dew membrane technology. doi:10.1300/J064v30n03_10

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)149-163
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Sustainable Agriculture
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 29 2007



  • Desalination
  • Desert
  • Heavy metals
  • Irrigation
  • Salts
  • Sewage
  • Solar membrane distillation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)

Cite this