Improving Wastewater Use in Agriculture: An Emerging Priority

111 Pages Posted: 20 Apr 2016

See all articles by Susanne M. Scheierling

Susanne M. Scheierling

World Bank

Carl Bartone

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Duncan D. Mara

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Pay Drechsel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Date Written: September 1, 2010

Abstract

Wastewater use in agriculture is a growing practice worldwide. Drivers include increasing water stress, in part due to climate change; increasing urbanization and growing wastewater flows; and more urban households engaged in agricultural activities. The problem with this trend is that in low-income countries, but also in many middle-income countries, it either involves the direct use of untreated wastewater or the indirect use of polluted waters from rivers that receive untreated urban discharges. This poses substantial risks, in particular microbial risks to public health. To address these risks, the World Health Organization in 2006 issued new guidelines for the safe use of wastewater.This paper aims to highlight the growing importance of improving wastewater use in agriculture across the spectrum from lower to high-income countries. It presents an innovative approach linking key issues related to different aspects of wastewater irrigation to a country?s level of economic development. Based on data presented in the World Bank?s World Development Report, it differentiates between four country income levels to create a typology for analyzing current issues, trends, and priorities for improving agricultural wastewater use with a focus on reducing the risks to public health. It also presents the basic principles of the new 2006 World Health Organization Guidelines, and how to apply them. Beyond regulatory aspects, the paper also discusses other aspects that are important for achieving a more integrated approach to agricultural wastewater use, including institutional/planning, technological, economic/financial, and social issues. Finally, the paper provides recommendations for moving the wastewater irrigation agenda forward.

Keywords: Water and Industry, Wastewater Treatment, Sanitation and Sewerage, Water Supply and Systems, Water Conservation

Suggested Citation

Scheierling, Susanne M. and Bartone, Carl and Mara, Duncan D. and Drechsel, Pay, Improving Wastewater Use in Agriculture: An Emerging Priority (September 1, 2010). World Bank Policy Research Working Paper No. 5412. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1673052

Susanne M. Scheierling (Contact Author)

World Bank ( email )

1818 H Street, NW
Washington, DC 20433
United States

Carl Bartone

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Duncan D. Mara

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Pay Drechsel

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

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