Water Center



Arindam Malakar

Document Type


Date of this Version



Water 2019, 11, 1482


© 2019 by the authors.

Open access



In the race to enhance agricultural productivity, irrigation will become more dependent on poorly characterized and virtually unmonitored sources of water. Increased use of irrigation water has led to impaired water and soil quality in many areas. Historically, soil salinization and reduced crop productivity have been the primary focus of irrigation water quality. Recently, there is increasing evidence for the occurrence of geogenic contaminants in water. The appearance of trace elements and an increase in the use of wastewater has highlighted the vulnerability and complexities of the composition of irrigation water and its role in ensuring proper crop growth, and long-term food quality. Analytical capabilities of measuring vanishingly small concentrations of biologically-active organic contaminants, including steroid hormones, plasticizers, pharmaceuticals, and personal care products, in a variety of irrigation water sources provide the means to evaluate uptake and occurrence in crops but do not resolve questions related to food safety or human health effects. Natural and synthetic nanoparticles are now known to occur in many water sources, potentially altering plant growth and food standard. The rapidly changing quality of irrigation water urgently needs closer attention to understand and predict long-term effects on soils and food crops in an increasingly fresh-water stressed world.