Opportunities and Challenges of Using Treated Wastewater in Agriculture

Conference paper


The increase of the world population and the limitation of water in most of the countries led to over-pumping of traditional water resources especially the groundwater used in agriculture. Agriculture is using between 60 and 90 % of surface and groundwater. During the last two decades, the reuse of treated wastewater in agriculture had increased enormously due to the increase of food demand and expansion of agricultural areas. The shortage of water could be partially overcome by use of this new water source, Treated Wastewater (TWW). TWW can be used for irrigation under controlled conditions to minimize health risks arising from pathogenic and toxic pollution of the agricultural produce, soils, surface and groundwater. TWW reuse is one potential intervention strategy for developing nonconventional water resources. Reuse of TWW for irrigation and other purposes could contribute considerably to the reduction of ‘water stress’ and ‘water scarcity’ in the GCC countries. This chapter will highlight the factors that need to be considered when using TWW in agriculture especially the reuse in crop production, in addition to the main challenges and constraints facing the GCC countries in TWW reuse in agricultural production. It is a major challenge to optimize the benefits of TWW as a resource and to minimize the negative impacts of its use on human health. Different studies showed an increase of both the quantity and the quality of crops irrigated with TWW. In general, TWW has proved to be a very promising source of water for irrigation for crop cultivation. However, some constraints have been observed. These are related to economic, environmental and social issues. These constraints could be overcome by following certain practices and proper governmental policies and regulations.


Agriculture Environmental constraints Forage production GCC Treated waste water 


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Copyright information

© Gulf Research Centre Cambridge 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Head of Field Crops ResearchMinistry of Agriculture and FisheriesMuscatOman
  2. 2.Department of Soils, Water and Agricultural Engineering, College of Agricultural and Marine SciencesSultan Qaboos UniversityAl-KhodOman

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