The historic drought in Texas, responsible for intense dust storms, raging wildfires, and destroyed harvests over the last year, may soon force residents of West Texas to drink treated wastewater as supplies form reservoirs run dry. Jeannie Kever of the Houston Chronicle reports:
Wastewater – the water that runs down the drain as you brush your teeth, wash dishes and clothes, shower and flush your toilet – will be increasingly important to Texas’ future. The 2012 state water plan predicts use of so-called “reclaimed water” will grow by about 50 per cent by 2060, to 614,000 acre-feet per year, or more than 20 million gallons.
Although reclaimed water— which is typically sent to golf courses or industrial plants — is treated to remove impurities and solids, Texas officials know that it will take residents some time to cozy up to the idea of having former sewage water pumped through their home faucets.
Robert Mace, deputy executive administrator at the Texas Water Development Board, told the Houston Chronicle, “There’s still a bit of a yuck factor with putting it into the drinking water supply.”
For now, the treated wastewater will only make up a portion of available drinking water, but that could change depending on future demand and drought conditions.
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