Researchers launch two-year study on the use of treated wastewater in agriculture

April 29, 2015

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Researchers hope the study will lead to cost-effective and viable regional water reuse policies.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Researchers at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the University of California, Riverside, have launched a two-year study on the use of treated wastewater in agriculture, according to a press release.

The researchers hope the project, titled “Enhanced Resilience of Local Agricultural Water Supplies through Reuse of Municipal and Agricultural Water: A Dynamic Economic Analysis,” will lead to cost-effective and viable regional water reuse policies, stated the release.

The release reported that the team will review existing research on using treated wastewater to improve the reliability of local water supplies, evaluate the cost-effectiveness and efficacy of new technologies for using treated wastewater on landscaping and agriculture, as well as study the impacts of treated wastewater on crop yields, said Kurt Schwabe, associate professor of environmental economics and policy and the project's principal investigator.

The project will be initially funded with a seed grant of around $300,000 from USDA’s National Institute of Food and Agriculture-Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund partnership with Israel, noted the release.

“The long-term goal is to determine the most cost-effective approach to utilizing treated wastewater with an eye toward water supply reliability and maintaining water quality standards,” Schwabe explained. “Given the integral role wastewater reuse will play in an agency’s water supply portfolio, a clearer understanding of reuse possibilities and their implications on agency costs can be helpful. Yet to identify cost-effective solutions to these problems requires an interdisciplinary approach. Collaborating with researchers in engineering, economics and soil science is a much more effective strategy to solve issues than a piecemeal or siloed approach.”

Read the entire release here.

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