The Use Of Treated Effluent For Agricultural Irrigation: Current Status In The Bottelary Catchment (South Africa)
Free (open access)
371 - 380
N. Z. Jovanovic
The Bottelary river is located in a Mediterranean climate region (Western Cape, South Africa), where the agricultural sector plays an important role in the economy. During the dry summer season, there is not enough precipitation to meet the agricultural irrigation requirements. The objectives of this study were to investigate effluent quality, farmers’ perception and the potential extent of irrigation of crops with treated effluent from the Scottsdene Wastewater Treatment Works (WWTW). The research made use of historic effluent quality data (from 2001 to 2004) to determine the suitability of this water for irrigation, a questionnaire to determine the farmers’ perception, and the SAPWAT model for crop water requirements to determine the potential area that could be irrigated with treated effluent. The effluent quality analysis indicated that this water generally complied with international guidelines and national standards, and it is suitable for irrigation of most crops. The results of the questionnaire indicated that farmers are generally willing to use treated wastewater for irrigation, provided that infrastructure for wastewater supply is accessible and acceptable effluent quality is ensured by the WWTW to minimize possible negative impacts on health, crops, soils and waters. Estimation of crop water requirements indicated that treated effluent could become an additional water resource in the region, in particular during the dry summer months. In order to implement the use of treated effluent on a large scale, it is necessary to establish the required infrastructure, monitoring systems to control negative impacts on human health, crops, soils, surface and groundwaters, as well as extended public participation. Keywords: Bottelary river, crop water requirements, effluent reuse, farmers’ perception, irrigation, SAPWAT, Scottsdene, wastewater treatment works, water quality.
Bottelary river, crop water requirements, effluent reuse, farmers’ perception, irrigation, SAPWAT, Scottsdene, wastewater treatment works, water quality.