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Of water used in the household goes to waste. We must get it back

The greatest barrier to the widespread use of recycled wastewater is community acceptance. Research from around the world found the best way to overcome reluctance is to embrace education and rigorously ensure the highest quality water treatment.

In 2006, Toowoomba residents voted against the introduction of recycled water despite the severe drought that was ravaging the region. Allan Henderson/FlickrCC BY

Why would you not want to utilize stormwater?

A lot of people are content to utilize recycled stormwater but are hesitant to cook, drink, or wash dishes using recycled household waste. However, there are a number of technical, financial, and supply issues with the use of stormwater for the water requirements of our nation. Stormwater needs to be cleaned prior to being utilized, and the water supply could be inconsistent since it is dependent on rain, and it needs to be kept somewhere to store it for usage.

However, household wastewater (which is the water that goes into the system for sewerage from toilets, sinks, washing machines, and so on) is a much more regular source. It is the reason why the majority of household water goes in the form of wastewater.

In addition, wastewater flows to treatment facilities already, which means there are pipes in place to move it to areas that are already treating it, such as advanced treatment facilities that make the water sufficient to serve a variety of different purposes. There are numerous economic as well as environmental reasons to invest more in reusing wastewater for the water needs of our society.

The water is used by industries, households, businesses, agriculture, and landscaping public spaces in fighting fires and filling up groundwater or rivers.

The water cycle

The water we drink is recycled. In fact, we drink water that is the same as dinosaurs. Simply put, water evaporates, creates clouds, and falls in the form of rain. It then is absorbed into the earth, and then absorbed underground, or is filtered through rocks and is reabsorbed into rivers and oceans.

If we are able to capture the water and recycle it, we’re not producing more water, but we speed up the cycle of water so that we can reuse it faster.

Unpicked: the numerous species of animals, people, and each drop of water traversed over the millennia. Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA

We already reuse water in Australia. Many areas of regional Australia cleanse wastewater before releasing the water into streams. This water is then extracted to be used by downstream locations.

However, there has been some major community opposition to the construction of new infrastructure for reusing water to be used by households. In 2006, during the peak of the Millennium water crisis, Toowoomba rejected the idea completely.

Since then, an initiative has been successfully implemented within Perth. It is imperative to look at these issues in light of the present drought, which has many Australian regional centers in danger of running out of water.

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Jane S. King

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