Greywater reuse in urban agriculture for poverty alleviation: A case study in Jordan
Abstract, Water International, 2002
Although Jordan has a human development index higher than most developing countries, about seven percent of its population earns less than the international poverty line of one dollar (US$) a day. Furthermore, because of its scarce water resources and rapidly growing population, the poor, who are increasingly moving to cities, face growing food and water insecurity. This paper describes a pilot project that allowed the poor in Tufileh, Jordan, to reuse untreated household greywater in home gardens. The women of the community used small revolving loans to implement simple greywater recovery systems and set-up gardens. The project allowed the community to offset food purchases and generate income by selling surplus production, saving or earning an average of 10 percent of its income. Had the households used municipal sources for this supplemental irrigation, on average, they would have used 15 percent more water and had 27 percent higher water bills. Moreover, the project helped community members gain valuable gardening, irrigation, and food preservation skills. Women on the project report feeling more independent and proud because of the income they generated, the skills that they gained, and their enhanced ability to feed their families. An environmental impact assessment demonstrated that the quality of the untreated greywater was adequate, and the negative impacts on soil and crops were negligible. Nevertheless, this could change if greater volumes of greywater are reused. A follow-up project will increase greywater recovery, pilot simple treatment devices, and improve gardening practices and production.