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Achieving Sustainable Agriculture with Treated Municipal Wastewater

Authors: Himanshu Joshi, Reshu Yadav, S. K.Tripathi


A pilot field study was conducted at the Jagjeetpur Municipal Sewage treatment plant situated in the Haridwar town in Uttarakhand state, India. The objectives of the present study were to study the effect of treated wastewater on the production of various paddy varieties (Sharbati, PR-114, PB-1, Menaka, PB1121 and PB 1509) and the emission of GHG gases (CO2, CH4 and N2O) as compared to the same varieties grown in the control plots irrigated with fresh water. Of late, the concept of water footprint assessment has emerged, which explains enumeration of various types of water footprints of an agricultural entity from its production to processing stages. Paddy, the most water demanding staple crop of Uttarakhand state, displayed a high green water footprint value of 2474.12 m3/ Ton. Most of the wastewater irrigated varieties displayed up to 6% increase in production, except Menaka and PB-1121, which showed a reduction in production (6% and 3% respectively), due to pest and insect infestation. The treated wastewater was observed to be rich in Nitrogen (55.94 mg/ml Nitrate), Phosphorus (54.24 mg/ml) and Potassium (9.78 mg/ml), thus rejuvenating the soil quality and not requiring any external nutritional supplements. A Percentage increase of GHG gases of irrigation with treated municipal wastewater as compared to control plots was observed as 0.4% - 8.6% (CH4), 1.1% - 9.2% (CO2), and 0.07% - 5.8% (N2O). The variety, Sharbati, displayed maximum production (5.5 ton/ha) and emerged as the most resistant variety against pests and insects. The emission values of CH4, CO2 and N2O were 729.31 mg/m2/d, 322.10 mg/m2/d and 400.21 mg/m2/d in water stagnant condition. This study highlighted a successful possibility of reuse of wastewater for non-potable purposes offering the potential for exploiting this resource that can replace or reduce the existing use of fresh water sources in agriculture sector.

Keywords: Greenhouse gases, Nutrients, Water Footprint, wastewater irrigation

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