The lack of rain in the Canary Islands and the water requirements of bananas, the region's main crop, make desalination an interesting alternative to the extraction of water from aquifers and wells.
Domingo Saenz, an agricultural engineer at the University of La Laguna, said that this technique was not only used to desalinate ocean water and that it could also be used to remove the excess salts that the volcanic soils of the Archipelago secrete when there isn't enough rainfall for the process to take place naturally.
However, the engineer said, this process subtracts important nutrients and elements from the soil. Therefore, "they should be added after the water has passed through the desalination plant." In addition, he highlighted that the insular water had 2 or 3 grams of salt per liter, while the ocean water had 34 grams. This explains the high cost of marine desalination plants.
Saenz is working on a project in Buenavista del Norte to define how much salt the banana trees support. The initiative aims to optimize desalination plants to the needs of this crop. The project aims at calculating the level of desalination needed so that the plant is healthy and to reduce production costs, as the greater the amount of salt that needs to be extracted, the higher the cost of this process.