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As the years-long drought plaguing much of California drags on, experts are warning something extraordinary must be done to ensure residents have access to potable water. One technique many begrudgingly believe could work involves turning waste water into drinking water.
The controversial recycling program has already been used in especially arid locations around the world – including in Namibia and even in two Texas cities – with some success; however, Californians are bristling at the concept. For more than two decades, residents have voiced their opposition to what critics have dubbed “toilet-to-tap” water.
One activist who opposes the program nonetheless acknowledges that his state is in such a dire position, it may be the only remedy available.
“You know, toilet to tap might be the only answer at this point,” Donald Schultz told the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t support it, but we’re running out of options. In fact, we may have already run out of options.”
Others are more enthusiastic with their support of the program, including Association of California Water Agencies Executive Director Tim Quinn.
He called the water flushed down California’s toilets “probably the single largest source of water supply” for the state in coming decades, lamenting the fact that it is currently being “discharged into the ocean and lost forever.”
The three-step purification process turns waste water into a product proponents assert is safe for human consumption. While the Times reported that many advocates of the system say opposition is based in “the so-called yuck factor” associated with repurposing waste water, critics also point out the untested effects that trace levels of medication, hormones and other material might have on those who ingest them.
While some experts are proclaiming this procedure as California’s only hope in surviving the current drought, Western Journalism previously reported author James V. Lacy’s take on the crisis. He blamed environmentalists for opposing dam construction and other efforts to store water while advocating the misallocation of water that is available in projects such as one that he said used more than 5 billion gallons of water to transport 24 trout to another body of water.
Is it time for Californians to resort to drinking toilet water? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
This post originally appeared on Western Journalism – Equipping You With The Truth