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Table 4

SWOT analysis of water reuse in hydroponic systems for German conditions: Opportunities

Opportunities
MaterialImmaterial
Water treatment
  • The (re)cycling of water in smaller loops lowers the impact on nature as water withdrawal is minimised, while increasing resource efficiency. Natural water resources remain unspoiled or are available for uses other than the ones for which treated wastewater is used.

  • Wastewater that does not contain industrial influences and water collection in a separated sewer system are good starting points for setting up such a system.

Plant production
  • Demand for regionally produced vegetables/fruits, also outside their seasons, is often higher than the production.

  • Water scarcity will become more severe due to climate change; thus, the demand for water reuse and water-efficient agriculture will increase in the coming years. This is especially true as the limits of current agricultural irrigation using mostly groundwater and surface water sources will be reached.

  • Rapid developments in artificial intelligence help to regulate and coordinate the two aims of plant production and nutrient reduction in the water.

Environment
  • Due to the system being closed, any area can be used to set up the production system, including unpopular areas such as industrial wastelands. In such cases, the system can upgrade the landscape and additional efforts be made to improve its ecological characteristics.

 
Operation and management
  • There is already knowledge around managing hydroponic systems in Germany, and this can be obtained in the form of consultancy by interested operators.

Economy
  • Farmers’ income increases compared with that from traditional agriculture. Jobs are also created since horticulture production is more labour-intensive. The HypoWave concept can offer new business options.

  • New systems like this can advance sustainable development in agriculture and increase competition for more resource-efficient production.

Actors and institutions (law)
  • The experience and knowledge of water reuse in agriculture among actors and institutions might also spill over to new fields of water reuse.

  • The existence of regional organisations such as irrigation associations and cooperatives are an asset as they can be a starting point for setting up the cooperation required for such a system. A major advantage is that they know how to mediate between collective and individual interests.

  • Food retailers and supermarket chains might be interested in supporting new regional production systems due to existing demand for regionally produced food.

  • Preservation of nature and precaution can be positively influenced through political will and an executive habitus.

  • Political will can support a sustainable transformation of plant production by taking responsibility for structural planning and policy.

Values and standards (sustainability) 
Opportunities
MaterialImmaterial
Water treatment
  • The (re)cycling of water in smaller loops lowers the impact on nature as water withdrawal is minimised, while increasing resource efficiency. Natural water resources remain unspoiled or are available for uses other than the ones for which treated wastewater is used.

  • Wastewater that does not contain industrial influences and water collection in a separated sewer system are good starting points for setting up such a system.

Plant production
  • Demand for regionally produced vegetables/fruits, also outside their seasons, is often higher than the production.

  • Water scarcity will become more severe due to climate change; thus, the demand for water reuse and water-efficient agriculture will increase in the coming years. This is especially true as the limits of current agricultural irrigation using mostly groundwater and surface water sources will be reached.

  • Rapid developments in artificial intelligence help to regulate and coordinate the two aims of plant production and nutrient reduction in the water.

Environment
  • Due to the system being closed, any area can be used to set up the production system, including unpopular areas such as industrial wastelands. In such cases, the system can upgrade the landscape and additional efforts be made to improve its ecological characteristics.

 
Operation and management
  • There is already knowledge around managing hydroponic systems in Germany, and this can be obtained in the form of consultancy by interested operators.

Economy
  • Farmers’ income increases compared with that from traditional agriculture. Jobs are also created since horticulture production is more labour-intensive. The HypoWave concept can offer new business options.

  • New systems like this can advance sustainable development in agriculture and increase competition for more resource-efficient production.

Actors and institutions (law)
  • The experience and knowledge of water reuse in agriculture among actors and institutions might also spill over to new fields of water reuse.

  • The existence of regional organisations such as irrigation associations and cooperatives are an asset as they can be a starting point for setting up the cooperation required for such a system. A major advantage is that they know how to mediate between collective and individual interests.

  • Food retailers and supermarket chains might be interested in supporting new regional production systems due to existing demand for regionally produced food.

  • Preservation of nature and precaution can be positively influenced through political will and an executive habitus.

  • Political will can support a sustainable transformation of plant production by taking responsibility for structural planning and policy.

Values and standards (sustainability) 
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