Promoting wastewater for irrigation as a sustainable climate adaptation measure (PERISCOPE)

Improving wastewater re-use practices

AgricultureEducation & ResearchEnvironmental policyWater & Sanitation

Project type
Dissemination project
Project coordinator
VITO
Project partners
Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Solidaridad Asia (SREC)
Start date
January 1, 2022
Total budget
€ 235.293
Amount of subsidy
€ 199.999

AgricultureEducation & ResearchEnvironmental policyWater & Sanitation

Project type
Dissemination project
Project coordinator
VITO
Project partners
Indian Institute of Technology Kanpur, Solidaridad Asia (SREC)
Start date
January 1, 2022
Total budget
€ 235.293
Amount of subsidy
€ 199.999

Improving wastewater for irrigation and management practices in water-stressed regions

PROBLEM STATEMENT

The Indian city of Kanpur hosts of some of the world’s largest leather tanneries. These discharge a huge amount of contaminated wastewater. After passing through an effluent treatment plant with primary, secondary and tertiary systems, the water is released into a canal which is used by small- scale farmers to irrigate 2,000 hectares of rice and wheat crops. However, the farmers have reported odour and other contamination-related problems, including complaints of ill health. A recent study has also reported significant heavy metal pollution in the region’s agricultural soils, with several hotspots identified.

SOLUTIONS

In an already water-stressed region, utilising wastewater to increase the availability of water for irrigation is an important measure for climate-change adaptation. The wastewater reuse scheme at Kanpur is currently not adequate. Realising a system which is truly fit-for-purpose starts with identifying the opportunities for improving wastewater quality. This can be done through better treatment, introducing adequate water quality monitoring and safety measures and, when necessary, resolving soil and groundwater pollution problems by remediation techniques. These actions should be complemented with a campaign to increase public awareness and cooperation between stakeholders.

EXPECTED RESULTS

Protocols will be developed, and capacities enhanced, for the diagnostics and monitoring of legacy soil and groundwater pollution due to the use of partially treated wastewater for irrigation, and its impacts on farmland and health. Awareness and capacities for understanding and identifying appropriate remedial pathways will be raised. The outcomes and findings, for determining sustainable and efficient ways to make wastewater safe for irrigation, will be widely shared. Creation of a more aware and sensitised farming community, together with more engaged and responsive authorities, should result in recommended actions being taken.

Contribution to the sustainable development goals

Partners