For many developing countries facing water scarcity, agricultural production depends on wastewater. To date, about 10% of the world’s crops are grown with wastewater. Ideally, wastewater should be treated before use, but the reality is far from that. Instead, untreated wastewater irrigation has become a source of contamination, affecting crops and public health. Action must be taken to ensure the safe use of wastewater by raising awareness of its risks and by making appropriate tools available.
In the workshop “Sustainable Management Options for Wastewater and Sludge” from 15–17 March in Mexico, the UNU Institute for Integrated Management of Material Fluxes and of Resources (UNU-MERIT) joined forces with the Environmental Trust Fund of the State of Hidalgo to find sustainable and long-lasting solutions to wastewater issues in the region.
For more than 100 years, Mexico’s Mezquital Valley has used wastewater in agriculture. Wastewater irrigation has given farmers in this semi-arid region, not only a solution for water scarcity, but also a way to increase their crop yields. However, it has also triggered many environmental, sanitary, and social issues.
For the workshop, experts from the Dominican Republic, Germany, and Guatemala gathered at Tepeji del Rio de Ocampo in Hidalgo, Mexico to discuss the safe use of wastewater in agriculture in the Mezquital Valley. The participants examined eco-technological processes for water sanitation, as well as its health and economic aspects, were examined at the workshop. UNU-FLORES promoted the Nexus Approach to manage the connections between water, soil, and waste and improve the sustainable use of environmental resources.
For more information, see the news story on the UNU-FLORES website.