Due to the water shortage in Jericho city and extremely depending on fresh water and some private wells for irrigation, reuse of treated wastewater and bio-solids should be encouraged in order to save the main source of drinking water and to improve the quality of crops, since some farmers use private wells for irrigation which the quality is deteriorated and has a notable effects on productivity.
The main aim of this research is to assess the viability of agricultural reuse of treated wastewater and bio-solids in Jericho City. The specific objectives are to: (1) identify the characteristics and quantity of treated effluent from JWWTP, (2) generate evidence on the effects that may be associated with reuse, and (3) present the results to farmers and assess their perceptions.
The research methodology included: assessing the potential of wastewater and bio-solids quantities generated from JWWTP. In addition to the treated wastewater quality test the water quality data of two wells located near the WWTP will be compared with the treated wastewater quality. The experimental farm called the Pilot Plant will be set up inside the WWTP. The farm planted popular fruit trees in Jericho such as date palm, lemon, orange, and some kinds of fodders like alfalfa and corn to monitor and verify the yields and growth such as product color, taste and size. In order to assess the acceptance of farmers about treated wastewater/sludge re-use, a questionnaire was distributed to them.
The general findings of this research are: (1) the treated wastewater amount is very low on 2014 which is the beginning year of operation and the connection rate is very low, but the flow is expected to increase to WWTP due to ongoing projects that will connect more building until 2018, which is the target year that whole city will be connected to public sewer (2) the quality of
treated wastewater that is generated from Jericho WWTP is complying with quality A of Palestinian standards, which means it can be used for all reuse options except direct potable reuse, and comparing with the private wells that are used for agriculture irrigation, the results also showed that the treated wastewater quality is better than that wells which can promote the farmers to use this water safely (3) the visual observation of using treated wastewater in agricultural showed that there is no negative impacts of treated wastewater on the plant itself and on soil, on the contrast using treated wastewater gave results better than using fresh water, on other hand by establishing this experimental plant an evidence was created for farmers to use this water without any worry on their products (4) regarding reuse of treated water and sludge, more than half of respondents are positive for reuse of waste water, on the other hand, less than half of respondents are positive to reuse of sludge.
Using the treated wastewater in agricultural and especially in palm trees is more feasible option in Jericho city, especially all palm trees farms located near the WWTP, so no high cost is needed in infrastructure in order to distribute the treated wastewater amongst farmers.