Mitigating Environmental Risks of Wastewater Reuse for Agriculture

Water use efficiency and productivity icon
U.S. Agency for International Development
Project Status: 
Start Date: 
3 February 2014
End Date: 
31 July 2015

The use of treated wastewater in agriculture has become imperative in the Middle East and North Africa; however, treated wastewater often contains high concentrations of salts, heavy metals, and pathogens. Irrigation with treated wastewater is known to decrease soil pH and increase soil salinity, soil phosphorous, potassium, iron, and manganese levels. Recent research has also identified emerging pollutants with unknown fate and effects on the environment and human health. Long-term success in using treated wastewater for crop production depends on strategies to optimize crop yields and quality, maintain soil productivity, and safeguard the environment.
One option is blending treated wastewater with fresh surface water or groundwater;  however, the use of dual water sources requires additional infrastructure, and additional best management practices are still necessary to control other environmental and human health risks, such as pathogens and persistent pollutants.
This research project will identify tools to optimize treated wastewater reuse in conjunction with other available water resources by taking into consideration their quantity and quality, in addition to the agronomic, environmental, and economic components. The results of the field research will be synthesized to develop a decision support tool to help water resources planners and decision makers develop strategies for using treated wastewater for irrigation. 

Research Results and Progress Reports

Progress Report: April-July 2015

Posted: 1 November 2015 | Progress Report

During the reporting period, the research team:


Progress Report: January - March 2015

Posted: 17 September 2015 | Progress Report

During this reporting period, the research team:
In Oman, SQU:

Progress Report: October - December 2014

Posted: 26 January 2015 | Progress Report

In Oman, Sultan Qaboos University (SQU):

Progress Report: July - September 2014

Posted: 15 September 2014 | Progress Report

In Oman: