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Ebooks on agriculture and the applied life sciences from CAB International

CABI Book Chapter

Wastewater use in irrigated agriculture: confronting the livelihood and environmental realities.

Book cover for Wastewater use in irrigated agriculture: confronting the livelihood and environmental realities.


This book contains 16 chapters aiming to better understand urban waste water use in agriculture in developing countries (Africa, the Middle East, Latin America and Asia), and detailed case study documentation of what works and what does not. It makes pragmatic recommendations aimed at protecting both the public health and farmers' income. This volume will be of significant interest to those workin...


Chapter 5 (Page no: 59)

A fresh look at microbial guidelines for wastewater irrigation in agriculture: a risk-assessment and cost-effectiveness approach.

This study aimed to develop a risk-assessment/cost-effectiveness approach, to compare the risks of irrigating with wastewater treated to meet various recommended microbial guidelines - World Health Organization (WHO) versus United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) - for unrestricted use in agriculture with the risk of irrigating with untreated wastewater. According to the authors' estimates, the annual risk of contracting infectious diseases including typhoid fever, rotavirus infection, cholera and hepatitis A from eating raw vegetables irrigated with untreated wastewater is in the range of 1.5×10-1 to 5×10-2, or 5-15% of consumers eating such vegetables will develop a case of disease compared to 10-6 (0.0001%) of those eating vegetables irrigated with treated wastewater effluent that meets the WHO guideline of 1000 faecal coliforms (FC)/100 ml. The USEPA considers a 10-4 (0.01%) annual risk of becoming ill with an infectious disease acceptable for drinking water. Cost-effectiveness analysis shows that, on average, in a city with a population of one million, the prevention of a single case (out of 61 cases/year) of the four diseases: hepatitis A, rotavirus infection, cholera and typhoid according to WHO guidelines versus USEPA guidelines would entail an extra annual expenditure of wastewater treatment of US$450 000/case. It is questionable if this is a cost-effective or reasonable public health expenditure. The authors estimate that if every one of a million people ate raw vegetables irrigated with untreated wastewater, there would be a 1 in 10 annual risk (100 000 cases/year) of contracting one of these four diseases. Thus, in the authors' view irrigating vegetables eaten with raw untreated wastewater presents an unreasonably high health risk. However, treatment to meet WHO guidelines would cost US$125/case prevented. This appears to be reasonably cost-effective, but, is a question that must be decided upon by each community. Evaluating health risks by disability adjusted life years (DALY) is also considered.

Other chapters from this book

Chapter: 1 (Page no: 1) Wastewater use in irrigated agriculture: management challenges in developing countries. Author(s): Scott, C. A. Faruqui, N. I. Raschid-Sally, L.
Chapter: 2 (Page no: 11) A framework for a global assessment of the extent of wastewater irrigation: the need for a common wastewater typology. Author(s): Hoek, W. van der
Chapter: 3 (Page no: 25) A sustainable livelihoods approach for action research on wastewater use in agriculture. Author(s): Buechler, S. J.
Chapter: 4 (Page no: 41) Health guidelines for the use of wastewater in agriculture: developing realistic guidelines. Author(s): Carr, R. M. Blumenthal, U. J. Mara, D. D.
Chapter: 6 (Page no: 69) Wastewater irrigation - hazard or lifeline? Empirical results from Nairobi, Kenya and Kumasi, Ghana. Author(s): Cornish, G. A. Kielen, N. C.
Chapter: 7 (Page no: 81) National assessments on wastewater use in agriculture and an emerging typology: the Vietnam case study. Author(s): Raschid-Sally, L. Doan Doan Tuan Sarath Abayawardana
Chapter: 8 (Page no: 91) Wastewater use in Pakistan: the cases of Haroonabad and Faisalabad. Author(s): Ensink, J. H. J. Simmons, R. W. Hoek, W. van der
Chapter: 9 (Page no: 101) Agricultural use of untreated urban wastewater in Ghana. Author(s): Keraita, B. N. Drechsel, P.
Chapter: 10 (Page no: 113) Untreated wastewater use in market gardens: a case study of Dakar, Senegal. Author(s): Faruqui, N. I. Niang, S. Redwood, M.
Chapter: 11 (Page no: 127) Wastewater irrigation in Vadodara, Gujarat, India: economic catalyst for marginalised communities. Author(s): Vaibhav Bhamoriya
Chapter: 12 (Page no: 135) The use of wastewater in Cochabamba, Bolivia: a degrading environment. Author(s): Huibers, F. P. Moscoso, O. Durán, A. Lier, J. B. van
Chapter: 13 (Page no: 145) Treatment plant effects on wastewater irrigation benefits: revisiting a case study in the Guanajuato River basin, Mexico. Author(s): Silva-Ochoa, P. Scott, C. A.
Chapter: 14 (Page no: 153) From wastewater reuse to water reclamation: progression of water reuse standards in Jordan. Author(s): McCornick, P. G. Amal Hijazi Sheikh, B.
Chapter: 15 (Page no: 163) Treated wastewater use in Tunisia: lessons learned and the road ahead. Author(s): Shetty, S.
Chapter: 16 (Page no: 173) Confronting the realities of wastewater use in irrigated agriculture: lessons learned and recommendations. Author(s): Faruqui, N. I. Scott, C. A. Raschid-Sally, L.

Chapter details

  • Author Affiliation
  • Division of Environmental Sciences, Freddy and Nadine Herrmann School of Applied Science, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem 91904, Jerusalem, Israel.
  • Year of Publication
  • 2004
  • ISBN
  • 9780851998237
  • Record Number
  • 20043115034