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The 2009 ASHS Annual Conference

Reclaimed Water as an Alternative Water Source for Crop Irrigation

Saturday, July 25, 2009: 2:00 PM
Mississippi (Millennium Hotel St. Louis)
Lawrence Parsons, IFAS, University of Florida, Lake Alfred, FL
David W. York, York water Circle, University of Florida, Tallahassee, FL
Bahman Sheikh, Bahman Sheikh Associates, San Francisco, CA
Robert Holden, Monterey Regional water pollution Control Agency, Monterey, CA
Reclaimed water has been safely and successfully used for more than 20 years in Florida and California.  Reclaimed water in these states is strictly regulated with restrictions more stringent than World Health Organization guidelines.  The safety of this water has been demonstrated by studies in these and other states.  Reclaimed water is more highly tested than other sources of irrigation water.  When providing for appropriate leaching fraction, salts in reclaimed water can be handled with appropriate irrigation management.   Use of reclaimed water has steadily increased in Florida since 1992, but other entities besides agricultural irrigation are now competing for use of reclaimed water.  Purposely high application rates of reclaimed water to citrus on well-drained Florida sands have promoted better growth and yield.  Reclaimed water can provide some micronutrients, but does not provide sufficient nitrogen for good crop growth.  Public acceptance of reclaimed water has increased, and crops grown with reclaimed water have been marketed without negative public reaction.  Recent issues of food safety have caused some to question reclaimed water, but there is yet no evidence of food safety problems with reclaimed water.