Ok, not really. I have a confession. I took an extra-long shower this morning, even though I know I shouldn’t be doing that sort of thing during a drought. I could make my excuses, like that I needed a little extra time to wake up, or that I’ve skipped showers some days, so an extra ten minutes of soaking is still a net savings, or that it just felt nice to feel the water hit me. After all, conserving during a drought doesn’t mean I’m an animal, right?
If only there was a way to save all that good, clean water that just ran down the drain. As a matter of fact, there is.
Derided by some as “toilet to tap,” this program uses water that runs down our drain, cleans that water using both industrial and natural purification practices, and re-introduces the water back into our ground water. It gives the city an opportunity to reclaim water from washing our clothes and dishes, washing our hands, bathing, and yes, our bathroom water, too. I’ll admit, that part is gross, but it’s not like we’re drinking straight from the toilet.
A really cool part of the purification process involves spraying the water onto an open field, so that it can filter through natural layers of earth and re-enter the city’s natural water table. Personally, I’m excited about this process as a natural alternative to just throwing chemicals at our water. Plus, as gross as it sounds to drink toilet water, after this processes, the water’s no dirtier than our current water supplies, which are fed through natural streams and rivers. (What do you think happens to all of the various “presents” left in the woods by bears and wolves and other wild animals? That’s right.)
If the city of Los Angeles ever wants to be self-sufficient without pumping water from other sites, waste reclamation is going to have to be a part of our policy. There’s simply not enough new, clean water flowing through Los Angeles to support all of the people living here. The great thing about Toilet to Tap is that this technology already exists, here, today, and can be implemented without delay.
Plus, from a purely selfish perspective, think of the doors this will open: really long, guilt-free showers. Sounds worth it to me!