recycled water - way of the future
This site, which features people far more expert than I am about water resource management (they're scientists in the main), confirms what I said in the last post, that the yuk factor is having a disproportionate influence on the debate. The consensus seems to be that the Toowoomba decision revealed a failure in communication on the essential issues and that short-term political campaigning and scare tactics won the day. The story can't be allowed to end there.
The fact is that treated waste water is becoming more and more a part of urban water supplies worldwide. In Australia, the driest continent and becoming drier every year, Adelaide is leading the way. Already 21% of our waste water is recycled, far more than that of any other major Australian city. Sydney is worst, with only 3%. One of the main reasons for Adelaide's good showing, admittedly, is the fact that we have a lot of farmland around our sewage-treatment plants, with farmers more than willing to buy the treated water. Sydney's treatment plants are on the coast, surrounded by built-up suburbs with a built-in yuk factor. Not that there aren't suburbs - in Sydney as well as Adelaide - willing to use recycled water. Mawson Lakes in Adelaide's north is one such. It uses the recycled water for garden and toilets, employing a dual reticulation system that looks like becoming the way of the future - at least until recycled waste water for drinking becomes acceptable. It seems to me that dual reticulation - with water for express non-potable purposes being minimally processed - has some fairly obvious inherent hazards to it. Better, I should say, to bite the bullet and go all the way.