Revista Cubana de Salud Pública
versión impresa ISSN 0864-3466
GONZALEZ GONZALEZ, María Isabel y CHIROLES RUBALCABA, Sergio. Safe use and microbiological risks of wastewater for agriculture. Rev. cub. salud pública [online]. 2011, vol.37, n.1, pp. 61-73. ISSN 0864-3466. http://dx.doi.org/10.1590/S0864-34662011000100007.
Drinking water is a vital but increasingly dwindling resource due to the population growth, housing planning, industrialization associated to new potential demands upon the existing water resources, to which climatic change-related events are added. The objective of this study was to provide updated information on the WHO guidelines for the safe use of wastewater in agriculture. A total of 33 documents about this topic were identified; 13 of them published from 1994 to 2007 were selected since they included UNESCO reports, WHO guidelines and manual and critical reviews. Information was summarized on the WHO guidelines and the importance of their gradual application in Cuba. Among the Millennium Development Goals, those related to the safe use of wastewater and excreta for agriculture and aquaculture were underscored because they supported the present importance of the new suggested guidelines. The use of wastewaters in agriculture may bring about benefits, but their use without restriction is generally related to negative impact on the human health. The water reuse is not very common in Cuba; although the agriculture in urban areas has developed in the last few years, it depends on drinking water. The WHO guidelines must be taken into consideration for the future assessment of the use of treated wastewater in agriculture without causing any risk for health, and for the benefits it may bring to the environment and the population as well. In summary, some aspects to be considered to safely use wastewater in the Cuban agriculture, which are also necessary to implement national health and agricultural surveillance programs centered on microbiological aspects, were listed.
Palabras llave : Reuse; wastewater; agriculture; microbiological risks; WHO guidelines.