November 4, 2012

2012: Highlight # 30

Do farmers in peri-urban areas prefer to irrigate their crops with wastewater? Why? What is the size of the wastewater-irrigation economy in Gujarat? Alka Palrecha and others try to find out...

Wastewater Irrigation in Gujarat

An exploratory study

Alka Palrecha, Dheeraj Kapoor and Teja Malladi

Wastewater irrigation is commonplace in peri-urban areas of Gujarat as elsewhere in India. The treatment facilities in Gujarat for sewage are highly insufficient and sewage generation is increasingly polluting the streams, lakes and water bodies, where untreated sewage is disposed. In such a scenario, wastewater use in agriculture is an opportunity to address irrigation needs and to minimize pollution. While environmental and health concerns related to wastewater use in agriculture are acknowledged, it is equally important to recognize its contribution to agriculture as a resource. The main questions that emerge are: What is the extent and magnitude of the agricultural economy in influenced through wastewater irrigation peri-urban areas? What factors drive the use of wastewater for irrigation? Are there models of wastewater treatment with direct economic returns from wastewater use in irrigation? An exploratory study was undertaken with the support of IWMI-Tata Program for wastewater irrigation in the state of Gujarat.

This Highlight summarizes the use of wastewater around the major cities of Gujarat for agriculture based on the findings of the exploratory study.

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