The use of wastewater constitutes an important element of a water resources policy and strategy. Many nations have adopted (in principle) the use of treated wastewater as an important concept in their overall water resources policy and planning. A judicious wastewater use policy transforms wastewater from an environmental and health liability to an economic and environmentally sound resource. Governments must be prepared to establish and to control wastewater reuse within a broader framework of a national effluent use policy, which itself forms part of a national plan for water resources. Lines of responsibility and cost-allocation principles should be worked out between the various sectors involved, i.e. local authorities responsible for wastewater treatment and disposal, farmers who will benefit from effluent use schemes, and the state which is concerned with the provision of adequate water supplies, the protection of the environment and the promotion of public health. To ensure long-term sustainability, sufficient attention must be given to the social, institutional and organizational aspects of effluent use in agriculture and aquaculture. The planning of wastewater-use programs and projects requires a systematic approach. Government policy on effluent use in agriculture has a deciding effect on the achievement of control measures through careful selection of the sites and the crops that may be irrigated with treated effluent. It has been suggested that the procedures involved in preparing plans for effluent irrigation schemes are similar to those used in most forms of resource planning, i.e. in accordance with the main physical, social and economic dimensions. The following key issues or tasks are likely to have a significant effect on the ultimate success of effluent irrigation schemes:
· The organizational and managerial provisions made to administer the resource, to select the effluent-use plan and to implement it.
· The choice of single-use or multiple-use strategies.
· The criteria adopted in evaluating alternative reuse proposals.