Years Of Extreme Drought Forcing Texas Town To Consider Drinking Recycled Toilet Water

What’s a thirsty population to do when years of severe drought have almost exhausted the drinking water supply? One Texas town has taken a look around and realized there’s wastewater, wastewater everywhere, but not a drop to drink. Or hang on a second — there is plenty of perfectly good toilet water going to, well, waste. Ding, ding, ding.

In Wichita Falls, Texas, three years of severe drought have led to city leaders considering a plan that would mean half of the town’s drinking water would come directly from wastewater — after it’s been properly purified and recycled, of course, reports NPR News.

Times are tough, and residents already have to obey rules about when they can use potable water, the mayor explains.

“No outside irrigation whatsoever with potable water,” he says. “Car washes are closed, for instance, one day a week. If you drain your pool to do maintenance, you’re not allowed to fill it.”

Even with those measures, water supplies are expected to run dry in two years, prompting the city to build a 13-mile pipeline connecting its wastewater plant directly to the one that purifies water for drinking. So when it goes down the toilet, it’ll end up coming right back through the tap.

And of course, not everyone is excited about the potty plan.

“I think it’s gross,” one resident told NPR. “I mean, it’s recycled wastewater that we could possibly be drinking.”

That is exactly what’s happening, although it’ll be clean by the time anyone would drink it. But heck, you can always buy bottled water, which some residents are planning on doing.

“The thought of it definitely grosses me out,” one such resident admitted. “I’m sure that they would clean it and filter it up to standards, but I think just the idea would be — it’s sort of a mindset kind of thing, you know what I’m talking about?”

Yes, yes I do. But a person’s gotta hydrate somehow. And besides, adds the city official overseeing the plan, it’s not all toilet water.

“The vast majority of water that enters a wastewater plant did not come from a toilet,” he says. “They come from sinks, and bathtubs, and washing machines and dishwashers.”

And once the plan is approved by the state, the mayor says he’s planning on being the first one to take a sip of recycled water.

Drought-Stricken Texas Town Turns To Toilets For Water [NPR]