International Symposium on
Drylands Ecology and Human Security
Using Marginal-quality Water Resources
International Center for Agricultural Research in the Dry Areas (ICARDA), Aleppo, Syria; and International Water Management Institute (IWMI), Colombo, Sri Lanka
Anthropogenic activities and extreme events of climate change are the driving forces for water quality deterioration, which increases the generation of marginal-quality waters that have already been put to multidimensional uses such as crop production, agroforestry, and aquaculture. Broad categories of marginal-quality waters are: (1) wastewater generated from household, municipal, and industrial activities, and (2) salt-prone water from agricultural drainage systems, surface runoff, and exploited from aquifers. Irrigation with marginal-quality waters is an age-old practice, but it has gained importance in recent years, particularly in countries with limited availability of freshwater. The major challenge of using marginal-quality waters is to maximize the benefits for the farmers and society with minimal and manageable environmental and health impacts. This paper addresses the characterization and implications of different types of marginal-quality waters as well as response options aiming at their economical and environmentally sustainable management.