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A model to reclaim and reuse wastewater for quality crop production (ReQpro)
Date du début: 1 déc. 2013, Date de fin: 28 févr. 2017 PROJET  TERMINÉ 

Background Agriculture is the top water-consuming sector in southern European countries, accounting for more than 50% of the total water demand and reaching up to 80% in specific cases, according to the European Environment Agency's report, “The European environment, state and outlook 2010, water resources-quantity and flows”. In Italy, agriculture accounts for 60% of total water consumption. In the region of Emilia-Romagna, water consumption for irrigation is 66%. Agriculture's extremely high share of water consumption affects both surface and underground water resources. In the Po river basin, where 40% of Italy's national GDP is generated, this situation has led to both water body deterioration and an imbalance between surface and underground water ecosystems. The reuse of treated wastewater and irrigation system rationalisation are key issues for environmental preservation. Objectives The 'ReQpro' project will contribute to the protection of water resources through efficient re-use of treated wastewater for irrigation of agricultural land, thus replacing the use of surface water and groundwater resources. This objective will be achieved by developing a model of water reclamation and re-use for irrigation of high quality crops. The specific objectives of the project are: To evaluate the efficiency and the cost of tertiary wastewater treatment, aimed at achieving the standards set out in regulations on wastewater reuse in agriculture; To test new irrigation management practices, maximising the amount of irrigation wastewater applied to individual land plots, on an agricultural catchment area cultivated with high quality crops; To learn lessons about good practice for wastewater reuse; To evaluate the environmental and economic effects of the implementation of the proposed water reuse practice in the Po river basin; and To increase farmers’ awareness of wastewater reuse options. Expected results The quantified expected results of the project are: Tertiary treatment of approximately half of the flow produced by the Mancasale wastewater treatment plant in Reggio Emilia, in order to produce water suitable for reuse in agriculture; Recovery of some 40 000 m3/day of irrigation wastewater during the irrigation period; Wastewater reuse for the irrigation of an agricultural area of some 2 000 ha; A reduction of the discharge into water bodies of nutrient loadings. The amount of nutrients (nitrogen and phosphorus) in treated wastewater that will be applied to agricultural land instead of being discharged to surface water is preliminarily estimated at 40 000 kg/yr of nitrogen and 5 000 kg/yr of phosphorus; The development and assessment of an innovative wastewater traceability system, enabling the optimal usage of reclaimed wastewater and the provision of detailed information on reclaimed wastewater volume and quality to farmers; and The development of a risk management system to address possible problems.


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