Wastewater Use in Agriculture: Saline and Sodic Waters
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Irrigation with urban wastewater is a popular alternative to its discharge into rivers or other water bodies. In addition to organic solutes, wastewater may contain appreciable amounts of inorganic salts, metals, metalloids, detergents, pesticide residues, and medical waste. Major sources of salts in wastewater originate from industrial sector. Salt-prone wastewater can be saline or sodic. Saline wastewater contains excess levels of soluble salts while sodic wastewater is characterized by excess levels of sodium. Irrigation with salt-prone wastewater may result in negative impacts on irrigated crops, soils, and groundwater. Therefore, long-term wastewater irrigation needs special management strategies, which are determined by the crop grown, water quality, rainfall pattern, climate, soil characteristics, groundwater level and quality, and provision of a drainage system.