Reuse potential of laundry greywater for irrigation based on growth, water and nutrient use of tomato

Misra, R. K. and Patel, Jishiv H. and Baxi, Vijay (2010) Reuse potential of laundry greywater for irrigation based on growth, water and nutrient use of tomato. Journal of Hydrology, 386 (1-4). pp. 95-102. ISSN 0022-1694

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Greywater is considered as a valuable resource with a high reuse potential for irrigation of household lawns and gardens. However, there are possibilities of surfactant and sodium accumulation in soil from reuse of greywater which may affect agricultural productivity and environmental sustainability adversely. We conducted a glasshouse experiment to examine variation in growth, water and nutrient use of tomato (Lycopersicon esculentum Mill. cv. Grosse Lisse) using tap water (TW), laundry greywater (GW) and solutions of low and high concentration of a detergent surfactant (LC and HC, respectively) as irrigation treatments. Each treatment was replicated five times using a randomised block design. Measurements throughout the experiment showed greywater to be significantly more alkaline and saline than the other types of irrigation water. Although all plants received sixteen irrigations over a period of nine weeks until flowering, there were little or no significant effects of irrigation treatments on plant growth. Soil water retention following irrigation reduced significantly when plants were irrigated with GW or surfactant solutions on only three of twelve occasions. On one occasion, water use measured as evapotranspiration (ET) with GW irrigation was similar to TW, but it was significantly higher than the plants receiving HC irrigation. At harvest, various components of plant biomass and leaf area for GW irrigated plants were found to be similar or significantly higher than the TW irrigated plants with a common trend of GW >= TW > LC >= HC. Whole-plant concentration was measured for twelve essential plant nutrients (N, P, K, Ca, Mg, S, Fe, Cu, Mn, Zn, Mo and B) and Na (often considered as a beneficial nutrient). Irrigation treatments affected the concentration of four nutrients (P, Fe, Zn and Na) and uptake of seven nutrients (P, K, Ca, Mg, Na, Fe and B) significantly. Uptake of these seven nutrients by tomato was generally in the order GW >= TW > HC >= LC. GW irrigated plants had the highest concentration of P, Na and Fe which were 39-85% higher than the TW irrigated plants. Compared with tap water irrigated plants, greywater irrigated plants removed only 6% excess B, but substantially greater quantity of Na (83%) and Fe (86%).These results suggest that laundry greywater has a promising potential for reuse as irrigation water to grow tomato.

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Item Type: Article (Commonwealth Reporting Category C)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Accepted version deposited in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Engineering and Surveying - Department of Agricultural, Civil and Environmental Engineering
Date Deposited: 18 Jun 2010 05:01
Last Modified: 02 Jul 2013 23:55
Uncontrolled Keywords: evapotranspiration; greywater; irrigation; nutrient uptake; surfactants; water use
Fields of Research : 07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0703 Crop and Pasture Production > 070306 Crop and Pasture Nutrition
10 Technology > 1002 Environmental Biotechnology > 100203 Bioremediation
07 Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences > 079901 Agricultural Hydrology (Drainage, Flooding, Irrigation, Quality, etc.)
Socio-Economic Objective: B Economic Development > 82 Plant Production and Plant Primary Products > 8298 Environmentally Sustainable Plant Production > 829805 Management of Water Consumption by Plant Production
Identification Number or DOI: 10.1016/j.jhydrol.2010.03.010

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