Household food security and wastewater-dependent livelihood activities along the Musi River in Andhra Pradesh, India

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Buechler, Stephanie and Mekala, Gayathri Devi (2003) Household food security and wastewater-dependent livelihood activities along the Musi River in Andhra Pradesh, India. Project Report. International Water Management Institute, Pantancheru, Andhra Pradesh, India.


This study focuses on landless and smallholder households who use wastewater generated from the twin cities of Hyderabad and Secunderabad in the semi-arid tropics of Andhra Pradesh state for agriculture and the contribution of the wastewater to their food security. Three locations in the urban, peri-urban and rural areas were chosen to get a comprehensive view of wastewater use and users. The study revealed that in the research sites, about 920 hectares of land is irrigated with wastewater and about 48,000 people are directly or indirectly dependent on wastewater for their food security. In the peri-urban and urban areas, the income generated by labor on wastewater irrigated fields and by the sale of produce such as vegetables, para grass, coconut fronds and banana leaves from wastewater-irrigated fields contributes to the household food security of the wastewater users. All of the vegetable producers surveyed retain a part of their produce for their own consumption and the rest is sold. Many of the leafy vegetable producers engage in barter, exchanging part of their produce for other vegetables to add variety to their diet. Vegetable producers in the urban and peri-urban areas save about 20% of household expenditure which they would have had to spend on the purchase of vegetables. Most of the households in the urban and peri-urban area with livestock use wastewater irrigated para grass as fodder and earn income through the sale of the milk. Typically, 25% of the milk produced (assuming a household of 6 members owns one buffalo) is retained for household consumption and 75% is sold. Many of the farmers also grow certain fruits like lemon, mango, coconut and custard apple which they retain for household consumption. In the rural areas, 43% of the total food consumed by a household is wastewater-irrigated paddy. Many of the small farmers in the rural areas used part of their land for vegetable cultivation for household consumption. Migrants who come from drought hit areas work as laborers in the wastewater-irrigated paddy fields and are paid in rice which contributes to their food security. At the end of the harvest season, each laborer carries home about 2 bags or 140 kg of paddy.

Additional Information

G. D Mekala is also known as Gayathri Devi

Item type Monograph (Project Report)
Official URL
Subjects Historical > FOR Classification > 0502 Environmental Science and Management
Historical > FOR Classification > 1402 Applied Economics
Historical > Faculty/School/Research Centre/Department > College of Business
Keywords food security, wastewater, water quality, water reuse, Irrigated farming, rivers, households, vegetables, rice, paddy fields, fodder, cropping systems, groundwater irrigation, wells, domestic water, livestock, water requirements, India Andhra Pradesh, Musi River, Hyderabad, Secunderabad
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