Background: Out of all the sectors of society, agriculture takes up the largest share of water. Until the 20th century, water supply was based on the availability of rainwater, natural water aquifers such as lakes, rivers, springs, shallow bore wells, etc. The accelerated growth in world population over the 20th century, along with rising living standards, created an exponential growth in demand for food that in turn led to the exponential growth in the use of water. All this led to the drying up of springs, streams, rivers, and lakes, and depletion of underground aquifers due to the ‘easy’ use of pumps (overuse of watering pumps caused the biggest blackout in human history in northern India). Additionally the overuse of chemicals for fertilizers and pesticides as well as dumping of sewage and the leachates from landfills created pollution that further jeopardizes our water supply and our ability to maintain food supply.
With conventional STP’s using treated sewage water for crop irrigation would firstly require more sewage treatment plants that can reliably produce better effluent meeting the demands of regulation, long piping systems from the centralized STPs to the fields, and powerful pumping stations. All these, would contribute to the dependence on fossil energy, increasing carbon footprint.
Ayala’s NBS addresses the problem holistically. While finding sources of sewage near the fields, treating them on site and suppling reliable, high-quality effluent to the farmers, it also offers benefits to the well-being of the entire ecological system by harvesting and treating storm and drain water, flood protection, recharging local aquifers and protecting open and underground aquifers from leachates. The NBS achieves all this with zero use of energy or chemicals, requiring negligible maintenance, contributing to carbon footprint reduction, and integrating into social life. Due to its minimal operation and maintenance costs, the NBS is also, by far, the most economical cost.
Ayala has designed dozens of systems that treat wastewater from different sources for reuse in agricultural and gardening, reduce fresh water consumption, protect the aquifers and recharge them. To name a few: Kibutz Neot Smadar, Israel; Aquatic plants farm in Zipori, Israel; Jain Irrigation, Udmalpet, India; Lawrence School, Ooty, India; Indiska, cottage cheese processing plant, Tamil Nadu; etc.z