Grey Water Irrigation: An Alternative Approach for Household Production: A Review

Endalkachew Abebe


The need for water is growing with increasing population and the adverse impacts of climate change especially in Ethiopia. Innovative concepts and technologies are urgently needed to close the loop for water. Among the options for innovative water resources, grey water reuse is receiving crucial attention as a sustainable approach. The objective of this paper is to review the reuse of grey water for irrigation as an option for household production. The review indicated that reuse of untreated  grey water in agriculture is a reality in many parts of the World where poverty restricts farmers’ access to freshwater supplies. Grey water reuse for irrrigation had been also promoted in Ethiopia by different organizations as ameans of food security for low income households. According to this paper grey water can be applied  by using subsurface drip irrigation, grey water tower and keyhole garden methods. Both grey water tower and keyhole garden are easy to construct and operate with low cost compared to sub surface drip irrigation. Recent studies showed that the nutrients N and P are higher in grey water imply that it can be appreciated as a means to  increase  crop yield. Even though grey water had apotential impact on the plant, soil and health especialy when it is contaminated with faecal and have direct contact with edible portion of the plant, recent studies showed that there is no siginificant impact of grey water irrigation on health and environment in developing countries. Experiences from global and national level showed that grey water can be managed successfully at household level and  it can be apromising practice to ensure food security and to maintain good hygine practice in Ethiopia. More research is needed in our country related to grey water irrigation and its impact on health and environemnt before scaling it up at national level.

Keywords: Grey water, Grey water tower, Key hole Garden

DOI: 10.7176/CER/11-2-03

Publication date:March 31st 2019

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ISSN (Paper)2224-5790 ISSN (Online)2225-0514

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