The Use of Treated Wastewater for Irrigation as a Component of Integrated Water Resources Management: Reducing Environmental Implications on Soil and Groundwater by Evaluating Site-Specific Soil Sensitivities

  • Karsten Schacht
  • Yona Chen
  • Jorge Tarchitzky
  • Bernd Marschner


The use of non-conventional water resources like treated wastewater (TWW) is a contribution to alleviate the pressure on available natural water resources in water scarce regions, as it allows higher quality water to be available for other purposes. Population growth, improved living standards and expected climate change impacts will raise the importance of water reuse progressively. TWW can be utilized for various purposes, such as for irrigation, conservation, groundwater recharge or domestic and industrial use. In the eastern Mediterranean region, irrigation with water of marginal quality has a long history, with Israel being the promoting pioneer in advanced treated wastewater use policy and technology. However, apart from health and crop quality concerns, there are potential adverse effects of TWW application on soil and groundwater quality to be considered. In aiming to avoid unsustainable exposures, the regional risks related with TWW irrigation have to be specified and differentiated according to regional soil properties. Within the multinational joint research project network GLOWA (Global Change and the Hydrological Cycle) Jordan River, a regional based land evaluation was conducted for the area of Israel, Jordan and the Palestinian Authority by combining supraregional spatial soil data using a geographic information system (GIS). These data were used to identify land more or less sensitive towards TWW irrigation and for the implementation in regional decision support systems (DSS) related to water allocation and the extension of irrigation infrastructure.


IWRM Decision support system Treated wastewater use Irrigation Soil sensitivity evaluation Israel 



The study was funded by the German Federal Ministry of Science and Education (BMBF) within the GLOWA Jordan River Project.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Karsten Schacht
    • 1
    • 2
  • Yona Chen
    • 3
  • Jorge Tarchitzky
    • 3
  • Bernd Marschner
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Infectious Diseases and Tropical MedicineMedical Center of the University of MunichMunichGermany
  2. 2.Institute of Geography, Department of Soil Science and Soil EcologyRuhr‐Universität BochumBochumGermany
  3. 3.Department of Soil and Water Sciences, The Robert H. Smith Faculty of Agriculture, Food and EnvironmentThe Hebrew University of JerusalemRehovotIsrael

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