Biological Systems Engineering


Date of this Version



Water Supply Vol 22 No 12, 8483 doi: 10.2166/ws.2022.359


Open access.


Considering the increasing demand for urban water and the low water-use efficiency in the agricultural sector, an exchange of treated urban wastewater for agricultural water could be a fundamental solution for administering sustainable management of water resources. However, implementing the intersectoral water exchange project is influenced by the economic, social, and environmental conditions of each region, especially in developing countries. Therefore, this study sought to identify the best possible strategies for exchanging treated urban wastewater for agricultural water in Mashhad city, located in Iran, a country that suffers from decreased urban water resources. Based on the interviews conducted with the experts and the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats analysis, 28 influential factors were identified for the water exchange project, and eleven strategies were developed for its implementation. The results of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP) and F-TOPSIS indicated that organizing educational and awareness campaigns regarding the exchange project’s goals, devising an appropriate organizational structure, enhancing treated wastewater’s quality according to the WHO standards, taking the necessity of conducting social, cultural, and economic studies into account, developing consumers’ awareness programs, and supporting, training, and counseling the farmers and setting the required incentives for them were among the main factors involved in the implementation of the water exchange project in Mashhad.