Water Holding Capacity in compost enriched soils

Project category: 
Research & Development

On a worldwide average the agricultural sector consumes over 70% of the available fresh water. Only 10% is consumed by domestic use. If we would manage to reduce the water consumption in the agricultural sector by only 10%, the amount of water available for domestic use would almost double.

Soils which have an enriched organic matter and carbon content due to compost applications can increase their water-holding capacity by up to 40%, leading to significant water savings.

Calculation models to assess the water-holding capacity of soils are available, but they don’t take into consideration the organic matter or soil carbon content which obviously has an important impact on the “sponginess” of soils or the ability to carry water over time.

The purpose of this research project is first to integrate the influence of soil organic matter and carbon into a water-holding capacity model in order to quantify the positive impact of compost application in soil on the water consumption of agriculture systems and secondly to develop an easy to use input/output tool for farmers to assess their current water consumption and model improved future water management scenarios.