Skip to main content
Article thumbnail
Location of Repository

A geospatial approach to assessing microbiological water quality risks associated with irrigation abstraction

By Jerry W. Knox, Sean F. Tyrrel, A. Daccache and E. K. Weatherhead


All crops that are eaten raw can present a microbiological risk to consumers. Disease outbreaks in the United Kingdom and United States have illustrated that ready-to-eat crops can be a vehicle for the transmission of gastrointestinal disease. Irrigation water has been implicated as a possible source of microbiological contaminants. Over two-thirds of irrigation water applied to UK salad crops is abstracted from rivers and streams. Many of these are subject to a continuous input of faecal contamination from sewage treatment works as well as intermittent inputs from livestock and sewer overflows. In this paper, we show how geospatial techniques can help to assess the relationships between treated effluent discharges and abstractions and thus provide a new insight into local-scale assessments of irrigation water quality. The extent to which the approach can inform risk assessments and decision-making at the farm scale is demonstrated using a case-study catchment in eastern England

Year: 2011
DOI identifier: 10.1111/j.1747-6593.2010.00227.x
OAI identifier:
Provided by: Cranfield CERES

Suggested articles


  1. (2002). A review of the use of water in UK agriculture and the potential risks to food safety. Report B17001. Food Standards Agency,
  2. (2005). Application of microbial risk assessment to the development of standards for enteric pathogens in water used to irrigate fresh produce.
  3. (2008). Assessment of the microbial quality of irrigation water in a prairie watershed. doi
  4. (2007). Catchment microbial dynamics: the emergence of a research agenda. doi
  5. (2006). Council of the European Union (2006). Directive 2006/7/EC of the European Parliament and of the doi
  6. (2010). Development of a water strategy for horticulture in England and Wales.
  7. (2000). Guidelines for the microbiological quality of treated wastewater used in agriculture: recommendations for revising WHO standards.
  8. (2008). Managing water abstraction – interim update
  9. (2000). Mapping the financial benefits of sprinkler irrigation and potential financial impact of restrictions on abstraction: a case study in Anglian Region. doi
  10. (2009). Markey survey report for fresh produce (bagged salads).
  11. (2000). Predicting and mapping the future demand for irrigation water in England and Wales. doi
  12. (2000). Quantitative Microbial Risk Assessment Models for Consumption of Raw Vegetables Irrigated with Reclaimed Water Applied and Environmental doi
  13. (2008). Survival of Escherichia coli O157:H7 in waters from lakes, rivers, puddles and animal-drinking troughs. doi
  14. (1999). The application of GIS to irrigation water resource management in England and Wales. doi
  15. (2006). The microbiological quality of water used to irrigate salad crops: an assessment of the options available.
  16. (2005). The Upper Ouse and Bedford Ouse Catchment Abstraction Management Strategy. March 20905. Environment Agency.
  17. (2009). Water Framework Directive catchment planning: a case study apportioning loads and assessing environmental benefits of programme of measures. doi
  18. (2008). Water resources in England and Wales - current state and future pressures. Environment Agency.
  19. Water safety plans: Managing drinking-water quality from catchment to consumer. World Health Organisation. Geneva.17

To submit an update or takedown request for this paper, please submit an Update/Correction/Removal Request.