An article in the Guardian asked whether we would be happy to drink recycled sewage water. Little do most people know or perhaps care to consider, we already have been doing so, for quite a long time.

An article in the Guardian asked whether we would be happy to drink recycled sewage water. Little do most people know or perhaps care to consider, we already have been doing so, for quite a long time.

Last week, an article in The Guardian asked whether we would be happy to drink recycled sewage water. Perhaps little do most people know, we already have been doing so, for quite a long time.

Below are my thoughts on The Guardian’s water drinking poll.

So what’s new?? It might not be widely appreciated, but we, at least residents along the River Thames, and particularly London have been drinking recycled wastewater for decades.  It’s nothing new, but may need to become more commonplace if the needs of mankind are going to be satisfied in future.  Providing it is treated to a sufficiently high quality and meets the required drinking water standard set down, then there is no reason whatsoever why this practice should not be an accepted solution nationwide and supplement the ever increasing demands on our scarce water resources.

The challenge of conserving water for future generations is more relevant than ever before, and is crucial to the future of mankind.  Recent research has found that almost 40% of water companies believe that demand for water will outstrip supply by 2030.

Whatever the solution, recycling wastewater is going to play a vital part, and needs to be looked at as a valuable raw material rather than just ‘waste,’ and education is going to play a vital role with consumers whether it be in the home or commercial use.

It doesn’t have to be ‘black’ water, grey water and rainwater have their part to play as well in satisfying the ever increasing demand.  However, it is essential that consumers are made aware of the precious resource, and how it can be best used to satisfy the demand in the future.

And I see from Twitter that good work is already starting on the education of future consumers, with “sewage soup” being served up in the classroom, at Winton Primary School – a clever little exercise from Wessex Water.  More on this here

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About thewastewaterman

Chartered civil engineer with 30+ years' experience, specialising in the treatment and management of waste water. Expertise includes rainwater harvesting, water recycling, natural wastewater, reed beds, drainage, stormwater management (SuDS) and sludge/slurry

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