Use of wastewater in agriculture is not uncommon in India. Almost 90% of total water supplied for domestic use generates wastewater which is or could be diverted for agriculture purposes. Safe use of wastewater is therefore a source of water in agriculture, especially for vegetable growers in peri-urban areas. These areas have a large employment opportunity for female and male labourers to cultivate crops, vegetables, flowers, fodders that can be sold in nearby markets or for livestock use.

However, there is a number of limitations for wastewater treatment and reuse in agriculture such as a mismatch between demand and water supply, salinity, treatment capacity, nutrient application, etc. Moreover, use of untreated wastewater in irrigation also may degrade the groundwater system, accumulate salts in soils and create bad odour and further degrade other ecosystem services like downstream water quality.

Wastewater collection pond at Muduvatti village, Kolar district of Karnataka, India
Wastewater collection pond at Muduvatti village, Kolar district of Karnataka, India

Water4Crops is one of the largest Euro-India collaborative projects co-funded by the Department of Biotechnology, Government of India and the European Commission. The project brings together an Indo-European consortium of 36 organizations belonging to research institutions, universities and large industries.

Project aims

  • Developing innovative bio-technological wastewater treatments for enhancing wastewater agricultural reuse;
  • Co-creating innovative combinations of bio-treatment, recycling of water and high-value products;
  • Development of biotechnology and agri-business in Europe and India towards a “green growth”;
  • Improving water use efficiency through improved agronomics, plant breeding and new irrigation technologies;
  • Enhancing stakeholder participation in the co-creation process and Europe-India cooperation through Mirror Cases approach and INNOVA platforms.

Services provided by Wageningen Environmental Research (Alterra)

  • Supporting business development in the field of wastewater reuse /water use efficiency technologies.
  • Managing innovation platforms to support business development.