Waste Water Re-Use for  Agricultural Irrigation (in Yemen) [Archives:2000/17/Health]

April 24 2000

By: Abdulkadir M. Al-Ariqi
Environment/Development Consultant

In the Republic of Yemen water is a scarce resource. The most important source is groundwater. The main use is for Agriculture. Over 90% of pumped water is used for it while the remaining 10% is for domestic & industrial purposes.
Due to increasing demand for water to satisfy the requirements of over-population, high rate of urbanization, increase in industrial activity & raising up agricultural productivity the above-mentioned factors exerted with undesirable side effects such as: depletion of groundwater resources, polluting the water resources by uncontrolled environmental pollutants, including oily-water mainly for petroleum industries.
In fact at present private farmers already use the wastewater by their own initiative to irrigate their lands, without any control or guideline. This practice lead to an environmental pollution (pollution of groundwater especially the shallow wells) and health impacts.
Therefore it became essential to formulate national policies and strategies for wastewater treatment and re-use consistent with the Yemeni conditions. In order to optimize the treatment efficiencies, maximize water conservation, minimize public healthy risks and maximize the agricultural benefits as is visualized, these policies should be introduced as soon as possible.
Re-use Relative Benefits:
If wastewater re-use for agricultural irrigation is planned and managed effectively giving priority to public healthy consideration as well as potentials for groundwater pollution the following objectives could be obtained:
1. Alternative sewage disposal.
2. Controlling public health and environmental pollution.
3. Protecting existing infrastructure, foundations.
4. Coping with over-all demand on water supply for domestic purposes.
5. Increasing food production
6. Recovering arid lands.
7. Creating employment opportunities