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Journal of Integrative Agriculture  2022, Vol. 21 Issue (4): 1215-1224    DOI: 10.1016/S2095-3119(21)63853-4
Special Issue: 农业经济与管理合辑Agricultural Economics and Management
Agricultural Economics and Management Advanced Online Publication | Current Issue | Archive | Adv Search |
Wastewater irrigation and crop yield: A meta-analysis
WANG Han-jie1, Jingjing WANG2, Xiaohua YU3
1 College of Economics and Management, Southwest University, Chongqing 400715, P.R.China
2 Department of Economics, University of New Mexico, NM 87131, USA
3 Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Development, University of Goettingen, Goettingen 37073, Germany
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Abstract  Although wastewater irrigation in agriculture could be a potential adaptation to water scarcity, its effect on crop yield varies in the literature, making it difficult to evaluate its role in global food security comprehensively.  Using agronomic experiment data from 62 studies between 1987 and 2021, we employ a meta-analysis to analyze the factors contributing to the heterogeneous effects of wastewater irrigation on crop yield.  Our findings can be summarized as (1) the mean yield growth effect of wastewater irrigation is 19.7%; (2) domestic and breeding wastewater irrigation could significantly increase crop yield, while industrial wastewater has a negative effect although not significant; (3) high nutrients concentration of domestic wastewater is significantly positively correlated with crop yield; (4) agronomic experiment designs in terms of field experiment, experiment times, and fertilizer use could contribute to the divergent crop yield effects across the studies; (5) there is a publication bias of the research results between the English and Chinese literature; (6) the literature mainly sheds light on the short-run effect, and the long-run impact shall be an important research question in the future.
Keywords:  wastewater irrigation       crop yield        food security        meta-analysis  
Received: 24 May 2021   Accepted: 01 November 2021
Fund: The contribution of Dr. Hanjie Wang (Southwest University, China) is supported by the National Social Science Fund of China (20CSH048, 20AZD024 and 21ZDA062), the National Natural Science Foundation of China (71773099), the Humanities and Social Sciences Project Funded by the Ministry of Education, China (21YJC790110), and the Rural Finance Survey of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Affairs, China (05190084).
About author:  WANG Han-jie, E-mail:; Correspondence Xiaohua YU, E-mail:

Cite this article: 

WANG Han-jie, Jingjing WANG, Xiaohua YU. 2022. Wastewater irrigation and crop yield: A meta-analysis. Journal of Integrative Agriculture, 21(4): 1215-1224.

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