For years we've heard about the therapeutic benefits of using magnets for a range of ailments. Even though nobody was quite sure what they actually did to the body. But could this now be the answer to the nations' water crisis and the salvation of our parched and shrivelling gardens?
Magnetic water treatment is based on research and technology developed by the Russians during the cold war years. Ingrid Posteema from Omni Water for Life, the Australian company that distributes the patented irrigation systems, says the magnets change the structure of water molecules.
The technology is simple. Treating water with powerful magnets, farmers across Australia are raving about the results and it also has scientists excited.
Chances are you've probably enjoyed Jim Ripepe's strawberries. He is the biggest supplier in the country. Jim's been using magnetic water on his farms in Victoria for almost a year.
"This block was always our driest. Hard to get moisture in it. We put magnetic water through and within 6 weeks found the block a lot wetter. We had to back off our watering and saved 25 to 35% water. The quality of the fruit has been fantastic. Even sizes, plants were consistent. It's brilliant," says Jim.
The water is pumped through magnets fixed inside pipes, but it's what's coming out at the other end that has growers like Jim scratching their head in amazement.
Jim says: "I saved a minimum of 25% in water. It's a fair amount. The yield is good. More consistent sized berries. We're picking the same amount for longer periods. Look at these beautiful big strawberries grown with magic water, and they taste beautiful as well. We're getting better quality fruit, bigger yields and saving water. You can't beat that."
When Jim heard about it he was very sceptical. He thought he'd give it a go because it wasn't costing anything. "We put it in to see what happens thinking it probably wouldn't work, but eight weeks later we were blown away," says Jim.
We asked him what it was like before he put it on and he told us, "the plants were in good condition, but after the magnetic water we've noticed better plant vigour. Much better plant health. Bunch weights going in 40 and 50% heavier than last year. It's quite evident the technology works."
Griffith citrus and grape grower John Violi's computerised irrigation system has given him an accurate comparison of his water use before and after installing the magnetic system. He told us: "A classic example of results we are getting, you can see better weight on the bunches. Nice and filled. More weight, and to us a better return per acre. That's what we are after."
Just up the road Randy Amaro, Australia's largest rock melon supplier, has picked an incredible 30 thousand more melons on his 20 hectare patch using magnetised water, compared with another field nearby, using regular irrigation water.
Ingrid tells us: "It's changing the alignment and structure of the water that allows it to be used more effectively, more efficiently and increase productivity of water."
Ingrid's company has been installing the system for farmers to try out before they buy them. Starting at around ten thousand dollars. They also have pipe fittings for home use as well, costing a few hundred dollars.
"Farmers are raving, but it can also be applied to other areas. From power stations to reduce carbon emissions, pipes descaling, fuel lines, even firefighting equipment. They're getting an extra 10 metres of projection of water making it more effective in putting out fires. Unbelievable but true� the scientific research proves that it's true, and how and why it works, has been supported by controlled trials by farmers in the field," claims Ingrid.
The scientific evidence she refers to was a controlled trial using magnetic water on various plants, recently completed at the University of Western Sydney. They seem to confirm what the farmers have been reporting, including crop yeilds increasing up to 23%, boosting growth in some plants, while using less water.
The results will be formally published later this year but the researchers suggest that based on their findings, further testing on a larger scale should be done. In the meantime, Ingrid Posteema believes magnetised water could be the way of the future.
For more details contact Water For Life on 1300 660 788 or go to: www.waterforlife.net.au