Use of (partially) treated municipal wastewater in irrigated agriculture; potentials and constraints for sub-Saharan Africa

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Abstract

This review identifies the potentials and constraints of using (partially) treated or blended wastewater for irrigation in order to assess the potentials in the context of cities in sub-Saharan Africa, specifically Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. Less than 5% of the wastewater produced in the region is being treated. Nonetheless, untreated, partially treated, and/or blended wastewater is extensively being used for agricultural purposes. Despite the last updated WHO 2006 guidelines for ‘wastewater use in agriculture’, authorities only consider the different water quality parameters at the point of use. Other aspects such as irrigation type, crop management and post harvesting practices, which clearly influence the contaminant log reduction, are simply ignored. Those parameters, however, are considered alternatives to a classic contaminant log reduction, which may be very beneficial for developing countries. In a more holistic approach, trade-off is favoured between the required water quality for irrigation, use of affordable treatment technologies, and adequate post-harvest strategies to reduce the current health risks to acceptable levels. Such a trade-off makes use of multiple barrier approach, whereby wastewater treatment and critical point barriers throughout the supply chain are combined. Thus, there is a long way ahead to achieve proper water reclamation for productive use; the current paradigm has to change. Current restrictive guidelines are unrealistic given current practices, and approaches more appropriate to the location's situation still need to be developed. A multiple barrier approach in combination with master planning is recommended to consider wastewater treatment and critical point barriers throughout the supply chain.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102906
Number of pages12
JournalPhysics and Chemistry of the Earth
Volume118-119
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Keywords

  • Irrigation
  • Multiple barrier
  • Wastewater reclamation

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