Wastewater reuse in numbers: Making the most of agriculture’s only expanding resource (publication by IWMI)

  • F H Mughal
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Importance of Wastewater Reuse

Importance of Wastewater Reuse

Colombo-based CGIAR Research Program on Water, Land and Ecosystems and International Water Management Institute has produced an 8pp paper on Wastewater Reuse in Numbers.

As a scene setter, the report says:

“Rapid urbanization in the developing world is pushing up demand for water and food, while also
generating ever larger volumes of wastewater. Especially near cities, farmers are intensifying
food production to meet increased demand, often using treated or untreated, raw or diluted
wastewater to irrigate crops all year round. This practice offers significant benefits, providing
farmers with a steady supply of the water and to some extent the nutrients that are needed to
achieve high yields. However, because wastewater irrigation is not well managed in many lowand
middle-income countries, it can pose serious risks to the health of farmers and consumers
as well as to the environment.

To feed a rapidly urbanizing global population of 9 billion by 2050, farmers will have to produce 60-70% more food (Alexandratos and Bruinsma 2012).

Worldwide, more than 330 cubic kilometers (km3) of municipal wastewater are generated annually, theoretically enough to irrigate 40 million hectares (Mha) of cropland or to power 130 million households through biogas generation (Mateo-Sagasta et al. 2015).

This waste also contains enough nutrients to replace 25% of the nitrogen currently applied to crops in the form of synthetic fertilizers plus 15% of the phosphorus (Mateo-Sagasta et al. 2015).”


Worldwide, wastewater reuse is gaining momentum. Quality of treated wastewater is, sometimes, questionable. Where there are lax regulatory enforcements, even untreated industrial wastewater is used for growing vegetables. This happen in Sindh, Pakistan, and I’m witness to that.

Improper use of wastewater can lead to human health problems. World Health Organization have a series of documents on wastewater reuse. Used in right direction, with appropriate degree of treatment, wastewater reuse can prove beneficial for the farmers.

F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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  • muench
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Re: Importance of Wastewater Reuse

Thanks. I think you forgot the link. Google helped me to find it here:
wle.cgiar.org/wastewater-reuse-numbers-m...y-expanding-resource

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  • F H Mughal
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Re: Importance of Wastewater Reuse

Thanks for your help. Actually, I did not locate the link. And, my unstable internet was bothering me.

Regards,
F H Mughal

F H Mughal (Mr.)
Karachi, Pakistan
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