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UN: Rising reuse of wastewater in forecast but world lacks data on 'massive potential resource'
Date:9/4/2013

est the time and resources to fill the global data gap," adds author Manzoor Qadir of UNU-INWEH. "Better data will enable the research and policy community to enhance understanding and craft effective solutions that will benefit millions of producers and consumers worldwide."

Says the study, on which Tottori University and UNU-INWEH collaborated with the International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Syria, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Sri Lanka, and Hazara University, Pakistan: "The country level information aggregated at the regional and global levels would help in identifying the gaps in pertinent data availability and assessing the potential of wastewater in food, feed, and fish production at different scales."

Selected highlights

The study is the first ever to identify information gaps with respect to wastewater generation, treatment and use.

About 70% of the world's freshwater (up to 95% in some countries) is used for irrigation.

Competition for freshwater already exists among municipal, industrial, and agricultural sectors, particularly in water scarce areas. Agriculture has been yielding its share gradually to non-agricultural uses.

The combination of less freshwater allocation to agriculture and growing volumes of urban wastewater, is expected to continue and intensify, particularly in water scarce countries.

Agriculture in these countries will increasingly rely on alternative water resources, such as wastewater generated by non-agricultural activities in urban and peri-urban areas.

Under-reporting of wastewater generation, treatment and reuse might relate to fear of economic repercussions in agricultural trade due to concerns regarding food safety and phyto-sanitary measures.

Jordan's export market, for example, was impacted in 1991 when countries in the region restricted imports of fruits and vegetables irrigated wi
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Contact: Terry Collins
tc@tca.tc
416-538-8712
United Nations University
Source:Eurekalert

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