Skip to main content

Using wastewater to grow crops can address water scarcity in agriculture(downtoearth,)



Judicious use of wastewater to grow crops will help solve water scarcity in the agriculture sector. At a time when we need to produce more food to feed an ever-increasing population, wastewater can be used by farmers either directly through irrigation, and indirectly by recharging aquifers.

Using wastewater in the backdrop of water scarcity due to climate change formed the basis of talks in Berlin during the annual Global Forum for Food and Agriculture.

“…globally, only a small proportion of treated wastewater is being used for agriculture, most of it municipal wastewater. But (an) increasing numbers of countries—Egypt, Jordan, Mexico, Spain and the United States, for example—have been exploring the possibilities as they wrestle with mounting water scarcity,” says Marlos De Souza, senior officer with the Food and Agriculture Organization’s (FAO) land and water division.

Managing a critical resource wisely

Water is vital for food production and climate change threatens this most precious resource. At present, agriculture accounts for 70 per cent of global freshwater withdrawals and more than 90 percent of its consumptive use. Population as well as economic expansion are placing enormous burden on freshwater resources. The overall rate of groundwater withdrawals is steadily increasingly by 1 per cent per year since the 1980s. Over the years, groundwater has been used by farmers to grow crops, resulting in aquifer depletion, groundwater pollution and soil salinisation.

Key facts
Two litres of water are often sufficient for daily drinking purposes but it takes about 3,000 litres to produce the daily food needs of a person
Globally, groundwater provides around 50 per cent of all drinking water and 43 per cent ofall agricultural irrigation
Irrigated agriculture accounts for 20 per cent of the total cultivated land but contributes 40 per cent of the total food produced worldwide
FAO estimates that irrigated land in developing countries will increase by 34 per cent by 2030, but the amount of water used by agriculture will increase by only 14 per cent, thanks to improved irrigation management and practices
A report points out that as water scarcity is growing globally, salinisation, pollution of water courses and bodies and degradation of water-related ecosystems are rising. Large lakes and inland seas are shrinking and wetlands are vanishing.

“Water scarcity is pretty big issue…with increasing population, changing diets and increasing competition for water resources and water services, water scarcity will be more widespread,” Olcay Ünver, deputy director of FAO’s land and water division, says.

In the face of climate change and water scarcity, farmers have to look for alternative ways to grow crops. Wastewater is a valuable and an untapped resource till now in many countries. It can prove beneficial for agriculture, agroforestry and forestry sectors and help achieve food security, but only after it has been properly treated. Wastewater is rich in nutrients, making it a good fertilizer.

Over the years multipurpose dams have often served the needs of the agriculture sector. While potential for building new dams still exists in some regions, most of the suitable sites are already in use and the development of new ones is being increasingly questioned in the face of environmental consequences.

Water scarcity is present in all regions of the world. Around 2 billion people living in the world’s drylands are especially vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, such as drought and water insecurity.

According a FAO expert, for each degree of global warming, an additional seven per cent of the global population will be subject to decreased availability of water resources.

As an adaptive measure, many countries are using wastewater to meet their water needs. In Tunisia, wastewater is being widely used in agroforestry projects, supporting both wood production as well as anti-desertification efforts.

In central Mexico, municipal wastewater has long been used to irrigate crops. In the past, ecological processes helped reduce health risks. More recently, crop restrictions (some crops can be safely grown with wastewater, while others cannot) and the installation of water treatment facilities have been added to the system.

Comments

  1. Nice reading, I love your content. This is really a fantastic and informative post. Keep it up and if you are looking for What is a Land Capability Assessment then visit The 4 Spheres.

    ReplyDelete

Post a comment

Popular posts from this blog

SC asks Centre to strike a balance on Rohingya issue (.hindu)

Supreme Court orally indicates that the government should not deport Rohingya “now” as the Centre prevails over it to not record any such views in its formal order, citing “international ramifications”.

The Supreme Court on Friday came close to ordering the government not to deport the Rohingya.

It finally settled on merely observing that a balance should be struck between humanitarian concern for the community and the country's national security and economic interests.

The court was hearing a bunch of petitions, one filed by persons within the Rohingya community, against a proposed move to deport over 40,000 Rohingya refugees. A three-judge Bench, led by Chief Justice of India Dipak Misra, began by orally indicating that the government should not deport Rohingya “now”, but the government prevailed on the court to not pass any formal order, citing “international ramifications”. With this, the status quo continues even though the court gave the community liberty to approach it in …

Khar’s experimentation with Himalayan nettle brings recognition (downtoearth)

Nature never fails to surprise us. In many parts of the world, natural resources are the only source of livelihood opportunities available to people. They can be in the form of wild shrubs like Daphne papyracea and Daphne bholua (paper plant) that are used to make paper or Gossypium spp (cotton) that forms the backbone of the textile industry.

Nothing can compete with the dynamism of biological resources. Recently, Girardinia diversifolia (Himalayan nettle), a fibre-yielding plant, has become an important livelihood option for people living in the remote mountainous villages of the Hindu Kush Himalaya.

There is a community in Khar, a hamlet in Darchula district in far-western Nepal, which produces fabrics from Himalayan nettle. The fabric and the things made from it are sold in local as well as national and international markets as high-end products.

A Himalayan nettle value chain development initiative implemented by the Kailash Sacred Landscape Conservation and Development Initiati…

NGT terminates chairmen of pollution control boards in 10 states (downtoearth,)

Cracking the whip on 10 State Pollution Control Boards (SPCBs) for ad-hoc appointments, the National Green Tribunal has ordered the termination of Chairpersons of these regulatory authorities. The concerned states are Himachal Pradesh, Sikkim, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand, Kerala, Rajasthan, Telangana, Haryana, Maharashtra and Manipur. The order was given last week by the principal bench of the NGT, chaired by Justice Swatanter Kumar.

The recent order of June 8, 2017, comes as a follow-up to an NGT judgment given in August 2016. In that judgment, the NGT had issued directions on appointments of Chairmen and Member Secretaries of the SPCBs, emphasising on crucial roles they have in pollution control and abatement. It then specified required qualifications as well as tenure of the authorities. States were required to act on the orders within three months and frame Rules for appointment [See Box: Highlights of the NGT judgment of 2016 on criteria for SPCB chairperson appointment].

Having fai…