The use of water for agricultural production is at an all times highest. Agriculture is one of the most important and common use of freshwater. According to the UN Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO), it takes about three tons of water to produce a kilogram of cereal and fifteen tons of water to produce a kilogram a beef. It is also estimated that about 5000 liters of water is required to produce a person’s daily food intake. If a person’s daily meal takes 5000 liters of water, imagine the quantity of water that is needed to produce the daily meal of everyone in a state in the United States, imagine the amount of water needed to produce the daily meal of everyone in the United States, imagine the amount of water that is needed to produce the daily meal of everyone in the world. This shows us that a high amount of water is needed for food production alone.
The consequence of this trend is something to pay attention to. The result of this is that water scarcity across the world is increasing at an alarming rate. Water scarcity has now become one of the threatening challenges to the world’s sustenance. The most concerning fact is that the trend is expected to continue and increase in rate just as population increases. In the view of the Food and Agricultural Organization, “Agriculture is both a major cause and casualty of water scarcity. Farming accounts for around 70 percent of freshwater withdrawals in the world today, and also contributes to water pollution due to pesticides and chemicals”. The Director General of the FAO warned that competition for water will become unbearable in 2050 as the world’s population will have exceeded nine billion in the same year.
The only way out of this trouble is to promote ways to reduce the quantity of water used in agricultural production. One way of doing this is the use of wastewater for agricultural production. This involves the reuse of water that has been used before for other purposes. Unfortunately, wastewater usually contains microbes and pathogens that constitute threat to the health of farmers and contaminate the foods that are produced. Since food production is taking up too much water already, we have to ensure that we make up for such excessive use of water for agriculture. The only way out of this dilemma is to treat the wastewater and recycle them for agricultural production. Water waste comes from using water as cooling agent, cleaning agent and as a result of pollution. Such wastewater can be treated using adsorbent contaminant removers. If such water is treated, it becomes safe to be recycled for agricultural use.
Use of recycled wastewater in agriculture is reported to be in practice in about fifty countries across the world. This is said to be less that eleven percent of the world’s irrigated land. This shows that the use of wastewater for agricultural purpose is very low. If the use of recycled wastewater is encouraged in agriculture, a lot of water will be preserved for other uses. It will also help to reduce the effect of water pollution on the environment. When water is polluted, we can be sure that such water is not totally wasted as it can be recycled for agricultural use.
One other advantage of using wastewater for agriculture is that it will help reduce water scarcity across the world. The freshwater that can be used for other purposes that will be beneficial to humanity. It will be of tremendous importance to those dying of thirst in Sub-Sahara Africa. This way, we can be sure that lives are not lost to the negative effect of water scarcity.
Another importance of wastewater in agriculture is that it will reduce the cost of pumping groundwater for agriculture. During irrigation, farmers have to invest money into pumping water from the ground. The use of wastewater will reduce the amount spent on this. The saved money can still be used for other things that will boost the economy.
If we continue to use freshwater for agriculture, the environment will be endangered. In the year 2050, the amount of freshwater that will be available for use will be minute. We have to save our future. We have to act fast. Farmers should give attention to the use of wastewater for agricultural use. This is a way to preserve our future.