El Paso Drinking Water: “From Toilet To Tap”
The city of El Paso Texas has resorted to treating sewage water to use as a source for drinking. They have begun to do this because of the extreme heat, drought, and climate change. The city is one of the hottest in the country with an average of 15 days a year reaching a temperature of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit. It also does not help that this city gets very little rainfall with an average of only about 9 inches of rain each year.
“From Toilet To Tap”
Because of the extreme heat and drought, El Paso is on track to become the first major city in America to take its sewage water and put it right back through the tap. The city was hesitant to take this step, out of fear of upsetting the public, but they now feel that it is a necessary one.
Why It Is Necessary
Although drinking water formerly used in the toilet seems like an alarming idea, it may be a necessary one. As I said earlier, the city of El Paso faces extreme heat every year, and this contributes significantly to their issue of drought. Their primary source of water is the Rio Grande which is becoming insufficient for their needs. The river is becoming more barren and unable to supply the city and other cities that had relied on it in the past. A significant way the river would usually get replenished is through runoff from melted snow in the winter. Because of the increased heat, there is now little to no snow in the cold months, therefor no runoff, and as a result, the river, along with the city, are suffering. Without the Rio Grande as a water source, the city is struggling to have a sufficient amount of clean water. They are being forced to become creative and search for new ways to supply their needs.
This City Is Not Unique
Believe it on not; El Passo is not the only city resorting to using sewage water in their taps. There are several places around the world struggling with extreme heat and drought. Australia is another country experimenting with this idea. A city called Perth is considering the idea, and Sydney is already using small amounts of cleaned sewage water in their tap. In July India’s capital city decided to take advantage of this source of water. “In July, the Indian capital followed suit, with Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal saying that he hoped treated sewage water would supply 15 to 20 percent of its tap water in the next two years.”
Is It Safe?
Many people are repulsed by the idea of drinking water that was once used in the toilet. The critical question to ask is: is this safe? In theory, the water will be well treated and safe to drink. They are trying to develop the best way to make sure the public water is entirely safe. If they fail, however, to properly filter the water, it could be hazardous for public consumption and could cause great sickness or disease. If the water is filtered safely and effectively, this can be an excellent resource for struggling cities, but if not, it can come with great danger. Since El Passo has yet to implement this source of water and successfully filter it, there is no way to know, as of now, if this will be safe and effective.