From Toilet to Tap: Thoughts on Easing Water Woes

I came across a recent article on the construction of a $13-million water-reclamation plant in western Texas that will turn sewage into drinkable water. While the idea of drinking what was once discarded may have a slight “ick” factor, there was unsurprisingly not a huge public outcry. When the public has such little choice, due to factors both in and out of their control, they’re not really going to argue with a solution, are they?

Obviously this country has been experiencing a severe drought this summer. And obviously this affects already dry areas the worst – so obviously those areas need the most help. No problem with Fort Worth getting the help they need. What I have a problem with here is that the decision-makers of Fort Worth (for example) only got to the point of building this treatment plant once the public got to the point of dire need. Why do plants like this not already exist everywhere? And not just for the sake of creating more water for drought-riddled areas, but also for the sake of keeping sewage out of the oceans?

This may sound like a redundant question, but shouldn’t we, as a collective planet, be putting serious money towards projects like these? Why are we so concerned with finding water on Mars? Are we looking for the next planet to inhabit destroy after we’re done with this one? People (myself included) need to seriously acknowledge that the resources on this earth are actually limited – that once all the drinkable water is gone, that’s it. You won’t be able to ride your Vespa on over to Whole Foods and buy a case of Evian with your platinum Amex – There will be no more water for you to drink.

It’s thoughts like this that make me feel more than ever like Helpless Green(ish) Chick Who Really Wants To Save the Planet But Lacks the Money and Engineering Degree to Make a Massive Difference. The average person, unfortunately, has to leave the big projects up to the big decision makers. But what sort of small everyday water-saving efforts can we do, that if we all did, might make enough of a difference to slow the inevitable?

Photo of a California water district plant from a similiar (and 4-year-old) article at the New York Times.

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