Project goal

In Irricoli, the applicability of treated domestic wastewater as an alternative source of irrigation for field vegetables is investigated, taking into account food safety and economic feasibility. In order to substantiate this translation scientifically, the following steps are taken in this project:

  • Acquire knowledge about the microbial water quality of treated domestic wastewater and investigate the effect of storage on water quality. Does storage encourage germ growth or is there "natural" disinfection?
  • Map how microbiological contamination on green celery, spinach and cauliflower evolves over time after irrigation with treated domestic wastewater.
  • Develop a tool that provides a preliminary design of a piped water distribution system between a water provider and (a coalition of) farmers.
  • Provide a financial and legal framework for operating a water distribution system through workshops.
  • Spreading knowledge via demonstration cases and workshops towards the broad agriculture and horticulture sector, water providers (e.g. food industry), engineering firms, but also towards governments and civil society for the translation to Flemish legislation.


This project is managed and coordinated by Flanders’ FOOD. The implementation is in the hands of the following partners: Inagro, Boerenbond, UGent Research group VEG-i-TEC, UGent Research Group Hydro-Climate Extremes Lab (H-CEL) and Vlakwa. H-CEL is responsible for the development of the design tool.

Design tool

Our research group, Hydro-Climate Extremes Lab, developed a software package, named IRROTool, that allows to make a preliminary design of a piped water distribution system based on basic information. This design can help farmers estimate the cost of implementing such water distribution system before having the design fully and accurately calculated by a consulting firm.