We Brits use A LOT of water each day for our daily needs, 142 liters per person, per day to be precise. So much, in fact, that experts are working on ways for us to drink wastewater.
This is because being able to treat wastewater and re-introduce it back into the public drinking system will be a massive step in the right direction towards tackling the global water crisis. But one of the biggest leaps in the move will be convincing us to overcome the ‘yuck’ factor involved.
Normally, wastewater passes through treatment plants before being discarded into rivers as a relatively clean, but a safe form of recycled water.
But now there is a bigger focus on tapping into this recycled water to ease the pressure (and cost) on the freshwater supplies due to growing pollution, climate change, and population increase concerns.
The editor-in-chief of the U.N. World Water Development Report Richard Connor said:
“Water reuse for sure will just increase and increase worldwide because there’s no other option.”
It’s not a new concept to drink wastewater, Namibia has been a leading force in turning recycled water into ‘potable water’ (water that is safe for drinking and food preparation) since the 1960s. And they’re not alone, other countries have been using recycled water for agriculture, which typically consumes two-thirds of freshwater supplies, and for industrial use, like cleaning and factory cooling systems.
Experts say that treating wastewater and recycling it in this way is cheaper than treating and preparing freshwater, with U.N. editor-in-chief Richard Conor saying:
“It’s better to jump on the train now, the longer you wait, the more expensive it’s going to be, and the more difficult it’s going to be. It’s better to start right away.”