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Although water is the most abundant commodity on earth it is the most precious commodity and yet the most. Despite our advancement in technology, we have never found a substitute for water. The fact therefore remains that there will never be a direct substitute for water. Science has told us that exhaustion of world water reserves is possible although it is unthought-of and it can be disastrous. A UN report released recently projected that by the year 2025, about 29 countries in the world will be having severe water shortage, and these are countries in Africa and the Middle East (Cloete, Kwaadsteniet, Botes & Lopez-Romero, 2010). Water treatment is one of the solutions that help to check on to this problem. Reuse of treated water ensures that water treatment achieve its objectives in the conservation of water.
Treated waste water for use
The use of treated wastewater might sometimes be confusing while at the same time be a convincing way of reducing the water shortages that are currently being experienced. Confusion however will play the bigger role, where a person will fail to understand how and why they should reuse water that had gone through their drains while they can get fresh water from the tap at any moment. However, the mention of reuse treated wastewater does not call for people to drink water from wastewater treatment plants. There are various uses of water and among these uses; treated water may find its direct and appropriate application.
With population growth, the food produced has been in most cases if not all below the demand for the same. For this reason, irrigation has proved to be an effective method of ensuring that food grows through out the year without depending on the unreliable weather. Using water from primary source for irrigation purpose will create a direct competition between people and the plants on the fields. The result of this will be that water will be available to the farms than in homesteads due to the price factor. Treated wastewater is appropriate for irrigation purpose since it reduce competition of interest between people and the fields. In addition, this water from the treatment plants will have extra nutrients and minerals that are required by the plants and that are not available in the rainwater and water from other primary sources such as springs and rivers.
The industries are also the next greatest consumers of water after domestic consumption. Water from treatment plants can therefore find good application in factories, where treated wastewater will find various applications. Treated wastewater can have direct application or in the recovery of products (Cloete, Kwaadsteniet, Botes & Lopez-Romero, 2010). Cooling systems in industries also use large volumes of water and treated water can find a direct application.
The above are some of the places where water from treatment plant can find a direct application. Why should we use treated wastewater and yet water is the most abundant commodity on the surface of the earth? The answer to this question can be as simple or complicated as the question can seem to be. To begin with, the water resources need management and therefore there is need to use the resource accountably. The other issue is the competition between domestic use and alternative uses of water. If the two purposes compete then the later is likely to win due to the price factor. As human beings, we have existed through elimination of competitors and for this reason; there will be a conflict of interest between the two. Reuse of treated water will therefore serve as a good method of reducing the conflict.
Objectives of Wastewater Treatment
The main reason why wastewater is treated is to ensure that it is safe for human use and it is environmentally friendly. When wastewater is disposed off without proper treatment, it poses a threat to both humans and the environment at a large. When wastewater is used for irrigation purposes, it acts as a disposal method. However, under normal circumstances, the wastewater has to undergo treatment before it can be disposed of or before it is put into good agricultural use. The main reason for wastewater treatment is to ensure that the water becomes safe for the intended purpose. The treatment process will ensure that there are benefits that will be derived when the water is put into good use. In the water treatment technologies available, there are certain factors that may be considered. Wastewater treatment processes usually include: flocculation, neutralization, and biological processes (Marquardt, 2006). When using the most common methods, they should be able to reduce the effluent levels to the required levels, which are necessary for the plant growth. The best methods should provide better results at low cost and should require minimal.
Wastewater refers to water that has been used for different purposes. The water may contain different pollutants. This depends on how it was used. Wastewater can be classified based on its source: industrial wastewater and sanitary or domestic wastewater. The source of the industrial water is discharge from the commercial enterprises and the manufacturing process. This water contains toxic chemicals, plant metals and residual acids. On the other hand, the source of sanitary or domestic wastewater is discharge from the residential houses. This includes laundry, sinks, toilets, and much more. This water contains body wastes (Henze, 2002).
Studies show that some of the countries like the US have experienced health problems that are related to poor treatment of the wastewater (Russell, 2006). This also referred to as water pollution. The outcome is destruction of aquatic life and spread of the diseases. In other words, water pollution has a negative impact on every living creature. It affects fishing, recreation, household needs, and much more.
Wastewater is treated properly so as to avoid health problems and destroying the environment. The wastewater treatment 'facilities' help to suspend solids and reduce the organic compounds that may cause environment pollution (Sperling, 2007). With the help of advanced technology, the treatment processes have been improved.
The goal of these methods is to remove or reduce disease causing organisms, nutrients, solids and other 'pollutants' from the wastewater. Sometimes the wastewater treatment facilities add other chemicals so as to strip out the nutrients as well as settle out the nutrients. This helps to improve the quality of the recycled water.
Water Shortage Crisis
There is water crisis in different parts of the world. It is estimated that 2/3rd of the earth crust has water. However, this water is not suitable for human consumption. This is due to the fact the water is in form of 'vast' saline oceans or ice. Further investigation reveals that 97% of the total water is 'saline' while the remaining 3% in fresh water. Human and some of the animals cannot use the salty water. Additionally, 0.01% of the fresh is available for use while rest is in form of ice. This implies that water is a 'scarce commodity' thus is can't all the human demands. Above all, the water that is available to us we pollute it in different ways. The untreated water and polluted water have played a big role in causing 'water borne diseases' (Water.org, 2009).
It is estimated that 884 million people do not have access to clean to water. Further investigation reveals that 3.6 million people die every year due to water borne diseases. That is 43 percent of the deaths are because of diarrhea. It is also argued that sanitation crisis and water crisis are claiming more lives as compared to any war claims. Additionally, everyday, half of the hospital beds in the world have patients who have been admitted because of water borne diseases (Water.org, 2009).
Researchers show that every American uses more water while having his/her 5-minute shower as compared to the people who are dwelling in the developing country slums. Further investigation reveals people who do not have access to clean water their income are $1 per day. On the other hand, people who have access to clean water their income $2 per day. In addition, any individual can survive for days without food. However, lack of water may reduce the number of days the individual can survive (Water.org, 2009).
According to the United Nations, the water crisis is one of 'biggest' problems that the world is facing. Some of the countries are experiencing different water crisis levels. Due to water shortage, there has never been increase of food problems. The water crisis can be addressed through wastewater treatment. Additionally, there would be need to improve the quality of the water in every step involved in treating the wastewater.
The Importance of Treating Wastewater
Over time, water keeps on becoming a scarce resource in many arid and semi-arid areas. Under these circumstances, the planners and other stakeholders are left with no option but to look for any water, which they can use to economically fulfill their needs. The transfer of purely waterborne risks from the wastewater disposal system to the food chain, through the use of wastewater in agriculture, requires a paradigm shift in how we approach risk (Drechsel, 2010). High population increase rate in the world has had an impact on water availability. This puts high pressure on the food producers to increase their efforts in the production of food to sustain the ever-increasing population. One of the measures that have been put in place in order to address the issue of food production is irrigation. With irrigation in place, food can be produced all year round without actually having to depend on the environmental factors.
At present, the total land use that is under irrigation is estimated to be just over seventeen percent. Interestingly, the production of food from the irrigated pieces of land constitute just above thirty four percent. This percentage may even go up in totally arid areas where about eighty percent of the food produced in these areas is from irrigation.
In many cases, it may become difficult for arid areas dwellers to access clean water. This therefore, implies that the people involved in agriculture have to look for water, which may not be clean either. Most of this water may be referred to as marginal quality water. This refers to water, which has the potential to cause a problem when used for any purpose. For example, very salty water is marginal quality water and may not be used for agricultural purposes. This is due to the fact that the salt nutrients may not support agriculture fully.
When the government or any other people involved in irrigation decide to use marginal water, it will become important for them to put in place measures that would ensure that the whole procedure is handled appropriately without causing any problem to the plants; ensuring the whole process is successful. In this paper, we are going to mainly deal with the use of municipal water. This water is predominantly wastewater from homes and at other times may contain industrial wastes.
An increase for wastewater may be attributed to an increase in the urban population in most cities. In the recent past, there has been a need to ensure that the wastewater is disposed of safely; this has been from the numerous campaigns that have been run by the environmental conscious people and other activists. What is important to note is that when wastewater is used for irrigation, the clean water, which may be available, may be stored and used for other purposes other than irrigation.
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