Private micro-irrigation costs using reclaimed water

The cost of reusing water in micro-irrigation at the field level has not been studied in depth although the use of effluents in agriculture is a viable alternative in areas where water is scarce or there is intense competition for its use. The aim of the present study is to analyse the private costs of water reuse in micro-irrigation in an experimental plot. This analysis is intended to provide information about the decision a farmer would make when the choice to use conventional or reclaimed water is guided by cost criteria. The components of the total costs of different combinations of four types of filters and five emitters that can be installed in micro-irrigation systems using reclaimed water have been studied with the data obtained from an experimental plot in conditions similar to those of fruit orchards. Different scenarios that compared the costs of using conventional or reclaimed water in terms of water price and nutrient content were also studied. The results show that a proper combination of filters and emitters can save up to 33% in irrigation costs. Capital costs and maintenance costs were the most variable among the different combinations. Scenario analysis showed that the greater price of reclaimed water could be compensated by high nutrient contents, which would reduce fertilizer costs ​
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