Making every drop count with new standards for treated wastewater

Treating and reusing wastewater in agriculture can not only provide an oasis in the desert – it can boost economies and save communities. Now there’s a new standard that helps ensure irrigation projects flow smoothly.

In regions where water is scarce, treated wastewater can provide a lifeline to the agricultural community. Not only does it provide a new and vital source of water, it makes environmental sense, too. A new standard for treated wastewater can help key players in irrigation maximize the benefits and reduce any related risks for their agricultural irrigation systems.

The newly published ISO 16075 series contains guidelines for the development and execution of treated wastewater projects, including design, materials, construction and performance, and covering a wide range of issues such as water quality, types of crops that can be irrigated, associated risks and main components (e.g. pipeline networks and reservoirs).

Dr. Jorge Tarchitzky, Chair of ISO/TC 282/SC 1, the technical committee that developed the standards, said: “Water scarcity already affects every continent. Aquifer water quality is decreasing, and streams, rivers, seas, lands and plants are polluted by wastewater, or affected by lack of its use or improper treatment.

“Properly treated wastewater is an ideal resource to replace freshwater use in agriculture. Treated wastewater can be used for land reclamation, improving agricultural growth and reducing fertilization costs. An environmentally productive use of treated wastewater can also prevent ecological damage to water sources. Other than agriculture, treated wastewater can be used for purposes such urban and industry reuse.”

The series includes:

ISO 16075-1:2015, Guidelines for treated wastewater use for irrigation projects – Part 1: The basis of a reuse project for irrigation, which contains guidelines for all elements of a project using treated wastewater for irrigation

ISO 16075-2:2015, Guidelines for treated wastewater use for irrigation projects – Part 2: Development of the project, which covers such issues as criteria for the design and specifications for quality

ISO 16075-3: 2015, Guidelines for treated wastewater use for irrigation projects – Part 3: Components of a reuse project for irrigation, which covers the system’s components needed for the use of TWW for irrigation.