The farmers and growers in the municipality of Laarbeek, together with brewers Bavaria, have uniquely combined their strengths in an effort to promote clean water. The initiative resulted in the 2015 ZLTO Initiative Jury Award being attributed to ZLTO Laarbeek. KWR has been involved, via TKI Water Technology, in one of the Boer Bier Water sub-projects: subirrigation using Bavaria’s residual water on a parcel of agricultural land.
Attractive offshoots from wastewater reuse
Under the name of Boer Bier Water local farmers and growers have joined forces with Bavaria, ZLTO (Southern Agriculture and Horticulture Organization), the municipality of Laarbeek, the Aa and Maas Water Board, Rijkswaterstaat, CLM and the local Rabobank. Bavaria is located in Lieshout. Drought damage and the degradation of groundwater in the area present a risk in the long term for both farmers and Bavaria. A number of initiatives have been started to prevent this from happening. For example, Bavaria’s treated process water is being reused in agricultural land; a huge reduction in the application of plant protection products has been achieved through cultivation using biologically degradable plastic; and malting barley is being grown locally. In the jury’s words: ‘The starting point was the reuse of Bavaria’s wastewater. But the project then produced some attractive offshoots, such as crop switching, the raising of awareness with regard to plant protection, and the sustainable use of land.’
Subirrigation with residual water
Within Boer Bier Water, KWR and Bavaria conduct joint research into subirrigation using residual water from Bavaria on the Van Dijk family land parcel. Starting in 2016, by means of this system, Bavaria’s treated residual water will be infiltrated underground through subirrigation, which will maintain or raise the groundwater level and the soil moisture content. Thanks to the system, the farmers can actively control to moisture regime in their fields for optimal crop production.