Growing Indian cities have the potential to support their peri-urban futures by providing irrigation water for food production. Over 9 million ha of land could be irrigated if the city waters are rendered safe for use.

To better understand the linkage between sanitation and agriculture at municipal scale, a study was carried out that addressed the following research questions:
- How does a larger investment in flush toilets affect water quality and urban farmers?
- How much of the nutrient demand of urban farmers could be covered through waste composting?

Rapid urbanisation in developing countries intensifies the challenges of making sufficient food available for the increasing urban population, and managing the related waste flow. Unlike in rural communities, there is usually little or no return of food biomass and related nutrients into the food production process. Most waste ends up on landfills or pollutes the urban environment.

In most developing countries wastewater treatment systems have very low coverage or function poorly, resulting in large-scale water pollution and the use of poor-quality water for crop irrigation, especially in the vicinity of urban centres. This can pose significant risks to public health, particularly where crops are eaten raw.