Despite the fact that California Governor Jerry Brown declared an end to the drought in the dry state, and that the California Department of Water Resources describes water levels as “normal,” I think we can safely assume that California will be back in a drought before you can say ” indirect potable reuse.” Outside California (I try to pretend there are no parts of the world outside California, but the internet, books, television, and movies keep insisting otherwise), drought conditions seem to be rampant. Like in Texas, Europe, and China. Was it always like this?
I want to do my part to conserve water, really I do. But I’ve recently discovered the sport of slip and fly, and I’m getting quite good at it. In another few weeks, I’ll be ready to compete at nationals. Based on my height and weight, I’ll need to fly 600 feet and land in a regulation size glass of water. Until then, I’m going to be wasting a whole lot of water getting ready. In order to assuage my guilt, I’m moving to a county that has found a way to conserve water on my behalf: Orange County, California.
The OC has manned up (never thought I’d say that) and decided to recycle sewage water with the new Groundwater Replenishment System, despite the fact that the majority of people still don’t support these “toilet-to-tap” systems. I guess people don’t like the idea that their drinking water once had poop in it. Well, aquagermaphobes, I’m sorry to say that water and poop have been paired since the invention of water and poop.
Here’s the thing: all terrestrial surface water (lakes, rivers, oceans) serve as toilets for every marine animal living in them as well as land-dwelling animals that come to drink and bathe in them. Humans can drink groundwater, rainwater, or snow melt, all of which have been purified somehow by the earth (see the image below for an explanation how). But the basic truth is, at some point, that water most likely had poop in it.
The purification process utilized by the Groundwater Replenishment System is super safe. Probably even safer than our dear earth’s unregulated cleanliness standards, and those haven’t seemed to bother human society for thousands of years. So, to all you people who think toilet to tap sounds gross, get over it.