In the irrigated agricultural areas of Pakistan, the major sources of irrigation are canal water and groundwater. Due to the scarcity of canal water the dependency on groundwater is rapidly increasing in many areas of Pakistan. The groundwater is not only expensive, inadequate, and non-affordable for the small farmers but also of inferior quality. Much of the wastewater which is produced in urban and peri-urban areas is directly or indirectly used for irrigation without any kind of treatment. It appears that suitable technologies for decentralized treatment are avoided but other barriers to the wide adoption of the decentralized approach also exists. These barriers include lack of finance and suitable land, devoid of knowledge and skills and a lack of flexibility in official design standards. This study is an effort to check the status of treatment of the wastewater generated in Faisalabad: The area irrigated with wastewater in and around Faisalabad, quality of wastewater used to grow crops in wastewater irrigated areas, types of crops grown with wastewater, mechanism and composition of wastewater used and supplied to the farmers and farmer’s perception about the social and adverse impacts on human health and constraints in wastewater irrigation. To reduce these barriers several opportunities for improving wastewater management are to be considered via improved policies, institutional dialogues and financial mechanisms, which would reduce the risks in food chain contamination in agriculture practices. Effluent standards combined with incentives or enforcement can motivate improvements in water management by household and industrial sectors discharging wastewater from point sources. Segregation of chemical pollutants from urban wastewater facilitates treatment and reduces risk. Strengthening institutional capacity and establishing links between water delivery and sanitation sectors through inter-institutional coordination leads to more efficient management of wastewater and risk reduction.
Key words: Wastewater irrigation, wastewater implication, constraints, farmer ‘perception, food chain contamination.
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