The global agricultural wastewater treatment market size was valued at USD 2.18 billion in 2021. It is projected to reach USD 3.13 billion by 2030, growing at a CAGR of 4.12% during the forecast period (2022–2030).
Freshwater sources have become extremely polluted due to human activity. They are under immense pressure and are facing significant risks to their sustainability due to overexploitation, climate change, and interstate competition over their use that extends beyond the region's boundaries. This has created a massive scarcity of freshwater needed for drinking, food production, industrial activities, and ecosystem services, driving the need to treat used water. Wastewater treatment or water recycling can act as an alternative resource to meet the demand for freshwater resources. Water recycling removes water's sediments, chemicals, and other accumulated biological content.
Agricultural wastewater treatment is an essential part of farm management that helps reduce chemical contamination in groundwater and surface runoff from fertilizers, pesticides, animal waste, crop residues, and irrigation systems. Wastewater treatment facilities use a multi-stage process to recycle water. The demand for the global agricultural wastewater treatment market is projected to be driven by the rapidly declining freshwater supplies and the expanding agricultural water demand.
|Fastest Growing Market||North America|
|Report Coverage||Revenue Forecast, Competitive Landscape, Growth Factors, Environment & Regulatory Landscape and Trends|
Although less than three percent of the water on Earth's surface is fresh, pollution in rivers, streams, and lakes makes the remaining two-thirds of the water unfit for human use. Safe water is becoming a costly commodity. In addition, human migration creates tension among countries and different classes of people within nations. Therefore, the rapidly rising population, coupled with the increasing urbanization levels, is boosting the demand for food production, effectively creating a massive demand for freshwater and raising the demand for the global agricultural wastewater treatment market.
Water is a critical part of agricultural production and is essential for food security. Twenty percent of all farmed area is used for irrigation agriculture, which generates forty percent of all food produced globally. The expected rise in worldwide water consumption between 2000 and 2050 is supposed to reach 55%. In addition, agriculture utilizes 70% of the world's freshwater, and to feed the expanding population, food output must increase by 69% by 2035. As a result, the agricultural wastewater treatment market is driven by the increasing demand for water from farming.
Lack of awareness about advanced wastewater management, lack of investments in technological advancements, monitoring, operational deficiencies, and health and safety risk factors are observed to restrain the market value over the forecast period. Only 8-10% of the wastewater is treated in low-income countries. Most farmers in underdeveloped countries are unaware that they are directly using wastewater, mainly when farms are located downstream of large cities where wastewater is dumped into open water. They are also unaware that the wastewater flowing from large urban areas is untreated and heavily loaded with the full spectrum of excreted pathogens endemic in the community.
Wastewater use poses high health and environmental risks if no additional measures are applied. The growth of the global agricultural wastewater treatment market is projected to be significantly constrained by a lack of knowledge regarding the risks of using untreated wastewater. However, increasing awareness of environmental hazards and implementing wastewater treatment technologies can help create conditions that favor the safe and productive use of wastewater in agriculture.
Water treatment technologies are essential lines of defense to remove contaminants and bacteria before delivering clean, potable water supplies for consumption. The global wastewater treatment market is experiencing rapid changes in response to strict environmental regulations. Significant companies actively participate in the research landscape of this market to provide cost-effective and environment-friendly solutions. In the past decade, research on water technology, such as freshwater assessment and wastewater treatment, has yielded promising results. Several technologies are implemented on a trial basis.
Moreover, several of these technologies have proven to be effective solutions for water treatment. In many recently developed technologies, the moving bed biofilm reactor is one of the most promising and commercially viable technologies. Major pilot processes in developing countries help assess the cost-effectiveness of various technologies. Hence, new investment in research on water treatment technologies that further serve better is increasing, with governments funding operations. The future of the water and wastewater treatment market looks promising and is likely to act as a future opportunity for the global agricultural wastewater treatment market.
The global agricultural wastewater treatment market is divided into four regions, namely North America, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and LAMEA.
Asia-Pacific region is the most significant shareholder in the global agricultural wastewater treatment market and is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 6% during the forecast period. Food and agricultural processing and animal husbandry activities in the region generate organic and nutrient-rich wastewater that could pose risks to surface and groundwater if not properly managed. These factors are estimated to propel the demand for agricultural wastewater treatment technologies over the forecast period. China is the largest producer of various crops, including rice, cotton, potatoes, and other vegetables. Hence, the country's demand for farm wastewater treatment systems is rapidly increasing.
Additionally, the population of China has grown at a staggering rate in the past decade, and today, cities have become home to more than half of the population. Urbanization is increasing due to the government's promotion of economic expansion. As a result, the demand for better agricultural wastewater infrastructure is anticipated to rise.
North America is anticipated to grow at a CAGR of 3.3%, generating USD 206 million during the forecast period. The United States is known for its agricultural research and for providing the world with some sophisticated farming technologies. It is proving to be an agricultural role model for many nations, and with growing prices, US agriculture is continually expanding. The existing US water and wastewater treatment industry is suffering from aging infrastructure, and very few funds are made available from the public sector for its maintenance and refurbishment. However, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (USEPA) prioritizes improving water and sewage services, particularly in the municipal wastewater treatment area. A capital investment of around USD 600 billion has been made toward its improvement for the next twenty years. In addition, Canada has growing concerns regarding the issue of its wastewater treatment, as every year, around 150 billion liters of untreated and undertreated wastewater are sent into the waterways. Therefore, the demand for wastewater treatment is expected to rise in the country.
Nearly 100% of wastewater in Germany is treated to meet the highest standards set by the EU. However, Germany still has areas where the groundwater quality needs drastic improvement. Nitrate pollution is proving to be the biggest challenge in these regions. Also, phosphorous pollution caused due to agricultural land use is becoming a menace to water bodies. Therefore, the demand for wastewater treatment technologies is expected to grow in Germany in the coming years. Environmental protection and human health are of utmost importance in European nations, and these call for the need for efficient water and wastewater treatment methods.
Agriculture accounts for over 70% of water use in Latin America. The fruits and vegetable market is anticipated to grow in the coming years, which will drive the overall demand for agriculture in the region and propel the demand for agricultural wastewater treatment over the forecast period. With the growing global concern about water scarcity and pollution, international organizations are expected to play a significant role in developing agricultural wastewater treatment in these countries.
The global agricultural wastewater treatment market is segmented by technology, pollutant source, and application.
Based on Technology, the global market is divided into physical solutions, chemical solutions, and biological solutions.
The chemical solutions segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow with a CAGR of 4% over the forecast period. Generally, chemical processes are used in conjunction with biological and physical treatment. Chemical precipitation, coagulation, and flocculation processes are widely used to remove colloidal particles and microbes from wastewater. Chemicals in agricultural wastewater treatment are mainly used for the treatment of pesticides and other harmful chemicals before the release of water in rivers or other sources. Widespread usage of chemical-based technology worldwide is expected to boost the global agricultural wastewater treatment market in the forecast period.
Physical solutions include sedimentation, adsorption, flotation, and barriers, such as barracks, deep bed filters, screens, and membranes. They are mainly used for suspended solids recovery. These methods remove wastes using natural forces, such as gravity, van der wall forces, and electrical attraction. Physical water treatment processes are commonly employed to remove contaminants, such as debris, fine solids, sludge, heavy metals, colloids, and other dissolved particulate matter in water.
The biological treatment uses organisms to break down the organic substances in wastewater. It includes the usage of nematodes, bacteria, and other small organisms. These microorganisms metabolize the nutrients and colloids and dissolve organic matter, which helps treat wastewater. The biological process for wastewater treatment is cost-effective regarding energy consumption and chemical usage.
Based on Pollutant Sources, the global market is divided into point and non-point sources.
The point sources segment is the highest shareholder in the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.8% over the forecast period. Point source pollution happens from a single source of pollution, such as pipes, factories, etc. Point source pollution is described as "any single identifiable source of pollution from which pollutants are emitted, such as a pipe, ditch, ship, or manufacturing smokestack" by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Farms with large poultry and livestock operations are primary point sources of wastewater.
Non-point source pollution is caused by field surface runoff, including sediment runoff, nutrient runoffs, and pesticides. Non-point source contaminants are treated using a variety of physical, chemical, and biological procedures. Non-point sources form a considerable amount of wastewater due to agriculture and are significant consumers of wastewater treatment technologies and chemicals. Rising pollution from non-point sources will propel the need to use wastewater treatment technologies over the forecast period.
Based on Applications, the global market is divided into crop and non-crop.
The non-crop segment is the highest contributor to the market and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.7% over the forecast period. This segment primarily includes feed production, dairy farms, and poultry. Despite low calorie and protein supply compared to plant-based food, livestock, meat, and dairy still hold the largest share in consumption. This scenario, in turn, boosts the demand for water treatment applications in the non-crop sector.
Crop production or agricultural land, even though a small area of application for wastewater treatment, has much significance across the globe in developing and developed nations. Many developing and developed nations rely on agricultural land for crop production, thus increasing the usage of crop protection chemicals. Non-point sources account for the vast majority of these contaminants, and the water must be cleaned before its usage. Increasing demand for plant-based food products is raising agricultural activities in the limited land, expanding the use of pesticides, etc., which is increasing the need for water treatment.
The global agricultural wastewater treatment market's major players are