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Green Mujahideen: Would You Drink Your Pee? I Would.

"Toilet-to-tap" water systems may sound nasty, but for portions of the globe increasingly threatened by drought, they could be the best solution. If you're not familiar with the process, Slate has a thorough report on this kind of water-purification and … Read More

By / February 1, 2008

"Toilet-to-tap" water systems may sound nasty, but for portions of the globe increasingly threatened by drought, they could be the best solution. If you're not familiar with the process, Slate has a thorough report on this kind of water-purification and why it could prove essential to the survival of regions like the American west.

Cities throughout the US have actually recycled wastewater for use in agriculture and landscaping for decades, but despite the proven and available technology, the idea of drinking water that once coursed through the sewers, awash with pee and poo, is too much for some people. Plans to recycle wastewater for potable use in Los Angeles and San Diego have been shot down by public resistance in the past decade.

But LA and San Diego (and many other regions around the world) are facing serious water crises. I suggest that people in states like California, Utah, Arizona, and Georgia (not to mention Southern and Eastern Australia) find themselves a copy of Dune and meditate on the body water-conserving lifestyle of the hardy Fremen. Because really, what's more unpleasant: drinking recycled toilet water, or running out of water? Besides, studies of regular old tap water have turned up contaminants like pharmaceuticals and insect repellents. Our water is already polluted, even after it's been "cleaned and disinfected." A little toilet water added to the mix is just a drop in the bucket, right?

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