Opportunities for woody crop production using treated wastewater in Egypt
An Egyptian national program targets annual reuse of 2.4 billion m3 of treated wastewater (TWW) to irrigate 84,000 ha of manmade forests in areas close to treatment plants and in the desert. To evaluate the feasibility of such afforestation efforts, we describe information about TWW irrigation strategies based on (1) water use of different tree species, (2) weather conditions in different climate zones of Egypt, (3) soil types and available irrigation systems, and (4) the requirement to avoid deep percolation losses that could lead to groundwater contamination. We conclude that drip irrigation systems are preferred, that they should in most cases use multiple emitters per tree in order to increase wetted area and decrease depth of water penetration, that deep rooting should be encouraged, and that in most situations irrigation system automation is desirable to achieve several small irrigations per day in order to avoid deep percolation losses. We describe directed research necessary to fill knowledge gaps about depth of rooting of different species in sandyEgyptian soils and environments, tree crop coefficients needed for rational irrigation scheduling, and depth of water penetration under different irrigation system designs. A companion paper addresses recommendations for afforestation strategies (see Zalesny et al. 2011, this issue).