Water scarcity has become a global problem with the increasing number of urban population and civil progress and the increase of agricultural area, in addition to the overlap with the industry and human consumption and the form of the growing demand for water which consider an additional factor in the scarcity of water. One of the solutions that have been developed to solve this problem is desalination of sea water but this process is very expensive because of the need for advanced transactions. Another priority task processor is to use triple-treated wastewater which can be considered synonymous with another agricultural uses.
Current situation analysis:
In Oman there are nearly 44 sewages belong to the Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water resources, they are distributed in different governorates of the Sultanate. Treatment plant produces more than 33,000 cubic meters per day. There is also about 11 sewages treatment plant in the governorate of Muscat with a daily output of more than 80,000 cubic meters and it is expected to reach the amount of sewage produced about 270 000 cubic meters per day, equivalent to 100 million cubic meters annually by 2030. Approximately 60,000 gallons per day are used for the irrigation of parks and green spaces and trees, as it is expected to increase these quantities, especially after the drainage of the city of Muscat project is complete.
Many Arab and international studies on the treated sewage water uses was conducted, and found that it is important to use treated wastewater in agriculture after developing the techniques of treatment. A study conducted in Kazakhstan in collaboration with ICARDA, showed that the treated water has been used successfully in the irrigation of crops (sorghum, Sudan grass, sorghum). The preliminary data of the soil assured that there was no mention of salinity or combine heavy metal accumulation. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) Confirmed in 1981 that heavy metals have no adverse effect on crop growth.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, represented by the Directorate General of Agricultural and Animal Research conducted research and studies on various agricultural crops, especially forage crops using triple-treated wastewater starting in 2004, where it was the implementation of a range of quality testing for the use of water triple therapy Lori agricultural crops such as maize , sorghum, barley, wheat and then agricultural soil and irrigation water treatment analysis for a triple degree of acidity (pH) and electrical conductivity (EC), as well as major, minor elements and heavy elements to determine the percentage of residues (if any).
Research results in 2004-2008 confirmed the success of the cultivation of these crops using treated wastewater triple and without any residue in the plant or the soil.
A research/ development project was implemented for 2 years (2008-2010) next to the treatment plant in Saham - belongs to Ministry of Regional Municipalities and Water Resources and with funding from the Oman Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) and using three forage crops (barley Hordeum vulgare L. high and corn Sorghum bicolor L and maize Zea mays L.).
Take advantage of the triple-treated wastewater from sewage plants in the governorates to use in in cultivation and production of seasonal fodder. In order to plan for the future to make use of treated wastewater in agriculture and the production of fodder seasonal, the project has been established and evaluated according to technical-economic standards.
The cultivation of the first loop of the barley crop (Barley) during the period until 8/11/2008 and 10/3/2009, productivity has reached to 125 tons of green fodder for an area of 6 acres, and the water consumption rate is about 10 259 cubic meters to irrigate the crop length of Agriculture.
- The cultivation of sorghum (Sorghum) of the two categories (Super dan, Sweet Jumbo) during the period 15/4/2009 until 22/6/2009, production reached 193 tons of green fodder for an area of 6 acres, while the water consumption rate estimated at 30 923 cubic meters to irrigate the crop length of Agriculture.
- The cultivation of maize crop (Maize) cultivars (Hyb533, Hyb756IT) during the period from 19/8/2009 to 29/10/2009, reaching production of 154 tons of green fodder for an area of 6 acres, and as the water consumption of the crop for the duration of agriculture about 24 479 cubic meters .
- The cultivation of the second loop of the barley crop during the period 19/11/2009 until 02/18/2010, where green fodder production in the winter season was 2009/2010 of 96 tons and was water consumption rate of 26 448 cubic meters.
- The cultivation of the second loop of the crop sorghum (Sorghum) during the period 19/04/2010 till 06/13/2010, where production reached 235 tons of green fodder, as far as water consumption rate of about 24 055 cubic meters.
- The cultivation of the second loop of the crop corn (Maize) in an area of 2.7 acres where they were leaving the remaining area of 3.3 acres second of the sorghum crop of condensed has been harvesting on 09/29/2010 m The total production of green fodder amounted to about 148 tons total area (6 acres ) of green forage crops of maize and high. The total water consumption rate of 43025 cubic meters.
The economic-socio feasibility study of the three lugs of barley crops , sorghum and maize, proved that there is a feasibility and investment opportunities for the expansion of such projects using sewage triple therapy, where the project data indicated that the profitability of the income return (IRR) after two years after planting was 36 % that is considered a high rate when compared to the average accepted
It is worth mentioning that the project has won the first place in Amman Prize for the Environment 2011 for the Green Environment Research category.
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries - Directorate General of Agricultural and Animal Research
Eng. Saif bin Ali bin Salim Khamisi
Head of Laboratory Field Crops Research
Directorate General of Agricultural and Animal Research
Tel. 00968 24504030
Fax: 00968 24504088