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Wastewater irrigation: past, present, and future

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With population growth and social and economic development, water shortage is becoming a serious issue worldwide. As a key alternative water resource, wastewater can be used in agriculture to compensate for water shortages. Wastewater irrigation has a long development history and has undergone different phases in developing and developed countries. Untreated wastewater irrigation can come with numerous environmental problems. Strong management practices, such as the application of suitable treated and irrigated technologies, can be used to reap substantial benefits while minimizing risks. We discussed the major challenges associated with wastewater irrigation and its future use to help improve wastewater irrigation practices around the world.

Wastewater irrigation and its definition (left photo: wastewater irrigation of millet field of Kenya; right photo: wastewater irrigation of corn field in Mezquital Valley, Mexico). (Source: Janet Jarman for The New York Times)
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Wastewater reuse and the hydrologic cycle.
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