Wastewater is not waste. It’s water: Advancing the SDGs

Goal 6

At Netafim, we are expert in smart irrigation solutions that over many years have saved trillions of liters of water for farmers around the world. Of course, “trillions of liters” is not a precise or scientific count. But if you think that around 100,000 cubic kilometers of water are used for irrigation each year (that’s about 600 times the volume of Lake Tahoe in California), and typically drip irrigation will save between 30 and 60% of water versus other irrigation methods, then a saving of around 250 Lake Tahoes per year pushes us well over the trillions of liters mark. Even so, water remains critically scarce and we continue to urge for mass adoption of drip irrigation for all irrigated cropland as one of the ways we support water conservation and UN SDG Goal Number 6. But it’s not just about irrigation. It’s also about where you source the water for irrigation. This involves a change in paradigm. You see, we often talk about wastewater. But, for irrigation purposes, wastewater is not waste. It’s water.

Irrigating alfalfa fields

This theme takes us to Cyprus, where we have assisted an animal livestock farmer in reusing water that would otherwise have been waste. Cyprus suffers from ongoing water shortages, not a great thing for agriculture. Our customer, Kirni Pilicleri, the largest poultry manufacturer in the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus, operates chicken and livestock production facilities that generate large quantities of wastewater. We developed a solution featuring a treatment system that filters and purifies the wastewater, and then uses the water for subsurface irrigation at a nearby 10-hectare field of alfalfa that is a feedcrop for Kirni Pilicleri’s livestock. This is an an efficient, closed-loop drip irrigation process which blends wastewater with a precise quantity of clean reservoir water to enable safe usage. Using wastewater rather than potable water to irrigate crops for animal feed not only gave our customer an efficient and cost-effective solution, but also conserves water in Northern Cyprus. We continue to develop new applications for using water, which might have been waste, with our customers around the world. With ongoing efforts such as this, UN SDG Number 6 is within reach.

Read more posts in our “Advancing the SDGs” series.

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