Will I have enough water to drink? Nobody would ever think of that as a legitimate question 20 years ago. But it is becoming an increasingly serious concern now. From Colorado to Texas, to California to New Jersey, governments are focusing on the increasing lack of drinking water. And there are various solutions that are in the works.
In Colorado, many jurisdictions are currently fighting over water rights. Colorado has a history of water rights disputes and recently, the state has been asked to allocate monies for the purpose of fighting for water rights.
At its November 2004 meeting, the Colorado Water Conservation Board voted on whether $2,250,000 plus interest, set aside in a special litigation fund to fight over water supply issues should be used for that purpose. The fight is with neighboring states fighting over the same water.
Much of Colorado obtains water from Lake Powell, which has experienced "drastically lowered storage levels" as a result of drought conditions over the last five years. Negotiations between the seven affected states and the federal government, have been ongoing concerning a method for addressing this problem.
California's development history was predicated on water supply and water rights. Much of California is dry and the history of water supply and fights over water rights is quite extensive.
Today, much of California has to address severe water shortage problems. Now enter the toilet. They have been talking about this for about a decade now, but it is soon to become a reality: the re-use of toilet water.
Before we pursue this discussion further, let's understand the basics. Water that flows from waste water treatment facilities is often referred to as "gray" water. When it is processed at a waste water treatment facility, the water becomes close to harmless. But that does not mean that it is exactly drinkable.
Further levels of refined treatment are required before the water can become drinkable, and the technology exists.
Ocean County in California is expecting an increase in water demand just as everyone else is. US Census estimates reflect that everybody wants to live in California, and they all need to drink water.
For this reason, $600 million is being set aside in order to turn waste water from a treatment facility into water that is drinkable. In the enviro business, drinkable water is called potable water.
The water may be diverted from a pipe that would normally release treated sewage water into the ocean. Instead of going into the ocean, the treated sewage water would be refined and ultimately will become good drinking water. At least, that's the plan.
In addition to traditional chemical and physical sanitation processes, the water will also be treated with ultraviolet rays to make sure that it is perfectly drinkable.
Very recently New Jersey announced several pilot programs along southern New Jersey which would do the same thing. Under these pilot programs, potty water will be converted into water for lawn irrigation and other uses which require a lot of water, just short of drinking purposes. New Jerseyans are not apparently quite ready to take that next step however, the idea of using toilet water for irrigation purposes still represents a potential of saving quite a lot of water.