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Category — Water – Greywater

Urban farming could improve food security but also increases the competition between urban and rural water needs.


Feeding the cities with food and water is changing the Indian agricultural landscape.

By Dilrukshi Handunnetti
January 20, 2015


South and East Asia comprise 49 percent of urban irrigated croplands and 56 percent of the non-urban irrigated areas globally. These two regions account for 26 percent of urban rain-fed croplands and 22 percent of non-urban rain-fed croplands.

Drechsel says, “The study documents that 70 percent of households in developing countries are engaged in some kind of farming and food production and challenges the notion that food production, far from being a rural phenomenon, is commonly occurring within cities.”

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January 30, 2015   Comments Off

Securing Water for Urban Farms

A farm grows kale in view of the Chicago skyline. Globally, farms in and around cities span an area the size of the European Union. Photo credit: Linda N/CC

Linking urban water management more closely to urban farming has the potential to increase food security, water productivity, and community health, while reducing chemical fertilizer use, long-distance food and water imports, and related greenhouse gas emissions at the same time.

By Sandra Postel
National Geographic
January 8, 2015
Sandra Postel is director of the Global Water Policy Project, Freshwater Fellow of the National Geographic Society, and author of several books and numerous articles on global water issues. She is co-creator of Change the Course, the national freshwater conservation and restoration campaign being piloted in the Colorado River Basin.


Yet a surprisingly large share of the world’s cropland is found not in rural areas, but within cities and their immediate surroundings. Some 456 million hectares (1.13 billion acres) of land is cultivated directly in cities or within 20 kilometers (12.4 miles) of an urban perimeter, according to a recent study conducted by researchers at the International Water Management Institute in Colombo, Sri Lanka, the University of California-Berkeley and Stanford University, and published in the journal Environmental Research Letters.

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January 20, 2015   Comments Off

Desert School’s Community Garden in Nevada project Needs Water

Gerlach, Nevada is a small village situated next to the Black Rock desert (well known because of the Burning Man festival).

Jan. 2014
Kickstarter campaign


Gerlach, Nevada is a small village. At the turn of the century the town still inhabited up to 900 people, but when the nearby gypsum plant closed down in 2011 and economy went down in the region and people started to move away and presently the town inhabits 100 people. Eight years ago schoolteacher Elizabeth Jackson and her colleagues started an educational community school garden and greenhouse project in this barren environment.

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January 6, 2015   Comments Off

Satellite images reveal shocking groundwater loss in California


“Most climate models indicate that by the end of this century, the dry regions of the world will become drier.”

By Karen Kaplan
Los Angeles Times
Oct 2, 2014


The severity of California’s drought continues to shock, with the latest example coming courtesy of NASA.

The space agency’s two Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment, or GRACE, satellites have been been in orbit since 2002, making highly sensitive measurements of Earth’s gravity field. Variations in the gravity field can be caused by a number of factors, including the amount of water stored underground in soil and rocks.

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October 8, 2014   Comments Off

Irrigated Urban Vegetable Production In Ghana:


Characteristics, Benefits And Risk Mitigation

Edited by Pay Drechsel and Bernard Keraita
Second Edition
September 2014

The second edition of this book presents updated research findings on urban and peri-urban agriculture and vegetable farming in Ghana’s major cities with a special focus on the risks and risk mitigation related to the use of polluted water sources as it is common across Sub-Saharan Africa.

Foreword to the Second Edition

Over the last 10 years, the International Water Management Institute’s research in Ghana has had a major thrust in urban agriculture in general and (wastewater) irrigated vegetable farming in particular. The first edition of this book was published in 2006 under the title Irrigated Urban Vegetable Production in Ghana: Characteristics, Benefits and Risks –demand was high and it eventually ran out of print but the research resulted in many new studies that have improved our knowledge of the subject.

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September 19, 2014   Comments Off

Pacific Institute says California drought one of the most severe on record

calwaterUntapped Savings. Click on image for larger file.

Affecting urban areas, ecosystems, and agriculture.

By Pacific Institute
August 2014

60% of the state is experiencing exceptional drought – the most severe drought category. – and it is only getting worse since it will be another 2-3 months before the rainy season.

Since January 2014, 3800 wildfires have burned 44,000 acres in California, compared to an average of 2,800 wildfires burning 35,200 acres on average.

Currently, more than 58% of the state is now considered to be in exceptional drought, up from 37% last week.

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August 11, 2014   Comments Off

‘Lawn Dude’ Prods Californians to Battle Drought by Conserving Water


Gov. Jerry Brown, meanwhile, has asked residents across the state to cut water use by 20%, a goal that has proved slippery so far. In some areas of the state, landscaping accounts for half of daily water use …

By Tamara Audi
Wall Street Journal
Aug. 1, 2014


The new mascot will be popping up on billboards donated by Clear Channel Outdoor across the parched region, spouting catchphrases like “Don’t hose me man!” as reminders to refrain from overwatering lawns. On another billboard, Lawn Dude carries a martini glass holding a daisy and says, “I only drink 2 days a week”—a nod to limits on outdoor irrigation to twice a week in some communities.

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August 9, 2014   Comments Off

A Smart Sensor That Quantifies the Soil in Your Garden


Edyn is a smart garden system that consists of a Wi-Fi-connected sensor and water valve. Both are solar powered and have a rechargeable lithium-polymer battery when not in full sun.

By Liz Stinson


Over time, this (anonymized) data is stored and aggregated with other Edyn users around you to form a more holistic picture of your area’s growing climate. “We’ll be able to say, ‘well, Katie is having success growing basil in Potrero Hill in San Francisco. That’s very close to you, so you might have luck growing it as well,” Aramburu explains. It’s easy to compare the Edyn system to the quantified self movement, but Edyn has the opportunity to actually build a robust, actionable set of data that personal health information could be used for because of its sensitive nature.

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June 15, 2014   Comments Off

Urban Agriculture – Innovative water recirculation systems

Fresh City workers trim sprouts. Credit: Fresh City.

How urban agriculture set-ups cultivate local produce with the help of innovative water recirculation systems.

By Saul Chernos
Water Canada
May 12, 2014


“We’re trying to reduce our footprint on the environment as much as we possibly can,” explains Lauren Rathmell, a founding member who oversees Lufa’s greenhouse operations. She says Lufa’s hydroponic greenhouses use up to 90 per cent less water than comparable ones that don’t recirculate. “It’s all automated. We irrigate most of our plants using drip lines set up where we water the plants from above. Water that’s not taken up by the plants and doesn’t evaporate is captured, sent down to our collection tank, filtered, and reused.” Some plants, mostly the lettuces, grow with their roots submerged entirely in gently flowing water, continuously irrigated. Others sit in soilless coconut husk grow sacs.

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May 26, 2014   Comments Off

Air-cooler’s water can produce crops and vegetables – an Accra, Ghana experience


Ductless air conditioners are capable of producing 60-100 litre of cool water in 24 hours time

By Dr.Mohemmed Habibur Rahman, Professor of Pathology, Department of Pathology, Bangladesh Agricultural University, Mymensingh, Bangladesh
At present: School of Veterinary Medicine, College of Agriculture and Consumer Science, University of Ghana, Legon, Accra, Ghana. P.O.Box: LG 586, Legon
All photos by Dr.Mohemmed Habibur Rahman.
February 2014

I have been living in the west Legon neighborhood of Accra, capital of Ghana but found very little vegetation around. Accra has had an extremely hot and humid climate. For example, the high temperature averages above 30 °C, and humidity levels reach 80% June through September. This year, it is very exception. There was little rain and I found only four day short showers in the last six months. Grasses have turned gray and bone dry. Water is indeed scarce in supply. Municipal drains are also dry. Infrequent water supply caused supply of drinking water as a lucrative business. A bottle of water measuring 1.5 litre is sold at GHS 2.5, which is equivalent to one US $. The water sold in sauces is not cheap as well. 20 paise can buy a litre. Thus, there is no water to grow vegetable in the inner city and to get green vegetable is also difficult.

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February 18, 2014   Comments Off

Rain Gardens, Permeable Pavement, Bioswales, Rain Water Harvesting, Green Roofs, Downspout Planters, Enhanced Tree Pits for Homes, Gardens, and Communities

Every year, more than 27 billion gallons of sewage and dirty rainwater are discharged into New York Harbor during CSOs.

Green Infrastructure Toolkit
By Grow New York City


This guide is designed to educate homeowners, community gardeners and others interested in storm water management techniques which can help minimize water pollution as it results from rainfall in cities that have combined sewers and other locations that experience flooding and storm water problems. The photographs, detailed drawings, material lists and descriptions provide a starting point for those interested in utilizing these practices in their homes, gardens and communities.

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September 20, 2013   Comments Off

Urban agriculture blossoms in Ballard, Seattle

Almost half of the land at Greenfire is dedicated as urban agriculture and garden areas. Landscape plan by the Watershed Co.

From an engineering perspective, urban agriculture reduces harmful runoff, increases shading, and counters the unpleasant heat-island effect.

By Mark Buehrer
Daily Journal of Commerce
May 31, 2013


Almost half of the land at Greenfire is dedicated as urban agriculture and garden areas. An estimated 70,000 gallons of rainwater collected throughout the year will provide all of the irrigation water needed for the urban agriculture areas.

Each of the two buildings has its own rainwater harvesting system. The rainwater runoff is conveyed into a 14,700-gallon cistern for the residential building and a 17,700-gallon cistern for the office and restaurant building.

The size of each cistern was based on typical monthly rainfall amounts and estimated irrigation demands for the drier summertime growing months. The rainwater systems include a few screens and filters to adequately clean the rainwater prior to being pumped for irrigation uses.

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June 2, 2013   Comments Off

Urban agriculture gets policy-level support in Sri Lanka’s Western Province

As a first step, a farmer company was set up to manage micro-loans through a revolving fund.

Water is a critical resource in urban settings, with the poor often being forced to endure unreliable supplies and contaminated wells.

International Water Management Institute (IWMI)
Issue 16 – 2013


The urban poor in South Asia often lack livelihood opportunities and adequate nutrition. One way to address both these shortcomings is to encourage urban farming. Projects facilitated by the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), one of the partners of the Resource Centres on Urban Agriculture and Food Security (RUAF) Foundation, assisted urban gardeners and entrepreneurs in Gampaha, Sri Lanka, with marketing, business planning and agricultural water management. The initiative led to a policy amendment in Sri Lanka’s Western Province followed by a process to incorporate urban agriculture in the National Agriculture Policy.

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February 10, 2013   Comments Off

On-farm practices for the safe use of waste water in urban and peri-urban horticulture

FAO Water produces Training handbook for farmer field schools

FAO Water Development and Management Unit
2012 – 52 pages

Many farmers in developing countries grow crops, especially vegetables, in urban and peri-urban environments using wastewater, raw or diluted, to irrigate their crops. Such wastewater is often heavily contaminated with disease-causing organisms and chemical agents that can seriously harm the health of the farmers, the traders who handle crops and the people who consume them. It is therefore very important for urban and peri-urban vegetable farmers to be aware of the health-risks associated with using wastewater for their irrigating crops and to know how to use wastewater safely at farm level to reduce those health risks.

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October 1, 2012   Comments Off

Rainwater compared to municipal tap water for urban-friendly agriculture

Watershed in garden.

The Watershed

By David Bonn, Managing Member
WaterShed Designs LLC

Building urban-friendly gardens that are totally dependent on municipal tap water just doesn’t make sense. In light of the situation, the WaterShed team took a fresh look at harvesting rainfall. The result is a wealth of knowledge and the WaterShed freestanding rainwater harvester. The WaterShed employs simple technology to harvest, store and distribute substantial quantities of high-quality water to support urban-friendly agriculture. Just add rain.

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February 13, 2011   Comments Off