Date of Award


Document Type

Open Access Master's Report

Degree Name

Master of Science in Civil Engineering (MS)

Administrative Home Department

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering

Advisor 1

Jennifer Becker

Committee Member 1

Daisuke Minakata

Committee Member 2

John Gershenson


Water security has become a large issue with populations rising and weather patterns changing to drier and hotter conditions in southern Africa. Lesotho, a mountainous country landlocked by South Africa, is responsible for a large amount of the rainfall in southern Africa. As such, Lesotho provides water to South Africa in exchange for national economic growth. Lesotho, however, is also prone to droughts and with water reserves being sold to South Africa, water security has become a national issue. This study looked at Lesotho’s current water use habits and found that graywater reuse could lead to much more available water. The purpose of this study was to determine if recycled graywater would be a suitable replacement for improved water when irrigating edible gardens in Lesotho.

A typical garden was constructed as well as a graywater collection system. The study was conducted using baby spinach plants that were treated with graywater irrigation or improved water irrigation. The garden was divided into separate treatment rows that were randomly assigned. The study garden went through a single growing season and then plants were measured for physical characteristics.

It was found that there was no statistical difference between the two treatments in any of the measurement types. The results of the study suggest that there is no difference in the physical growth of spinach plants when graywater is used as an irrigation source.