Effects of treated municipal wastewater irrigation on soil properties, switchgrass biomass production and quality under arid climate Academic Article uri icon


  • © 2017 Elsevier B.V. Ongoing severe drought and increased demand for freshwater by municipal and industrial sectors have reduced the freshwater availability for agriculture in the far west Texas region. The region has enormous potential for developing alternative water sources for a bioenergy crop that requires less water and can grow on saline soils. In addition to improving farm income, this can help in producing 137 billion liters of bio-based transportation fuels goal set by the U.S. Congress by the year 2022. This study evaluated switchgrass (Panicum virgatum L.) performance under treated urban wastewater irrigation on salt affected soils amended with gypsum and polymer using soil columns prepared from a salt affected land over six years under greenhouse conditions that mimicked the climatic conditions of the study region. Results indicated that switchgrass produced appreciable biomass even under highly saline and sodic conditions. Qualities of biomass under treated urban wastewater were comparable to that produced under freshwater irrigation. Expectedly, soil salinity increased with time at a greater rate under wastewater irrigation than freshwater. Soil SAR values were below threshold when adequate Ca was available to counter sodicity. In addition irrigation with treated wastewater improved nitrogen and potassium status in the root zone. This can reduce of cost of fertilization and increase farm profitability.

author list (cited authors)

  • Ganjegunte, G., Ulery, A., Niu, G., & Wu, Y.

citation count

  • 18

publication date

  • May 2017