If you live downstream from another city, you’re probably already drinking treated wastewater, reports National Geographic. And engineers want you to drink even more of it — not because they’re sadistic, but because it’s perfectly safe, and water is increasingly scarce.
“Available technology can reduce chemical and microbial contaminants to levels comparable to or lower than those present in many current drinking water supplies,” Trussell said.
The problem is selling people on the idea.
One way to overcome this revulsion is to provide some mental separation between the recycled water and its source. In [the documentary] Last Call at the Oasis, for example, the filmmakers try selling treated water under the catchy product name of “Porcelain Springs” and enlist comedy actor Jack Black to vouch for its drinkability.
Because surely the way to convince the public to drink recycled water is to sell them a product that sounds like it came directly from a toilet.
Perhaps a better solution is simply to implement wastewater recycling and then not bother to mention it. That’s what they did back in the mid-aughts in Orange County, Calif. (yes, that OC) and now millions of rich people consume post-pee drinking water without, presumably, ever thinking about it.
Reclaimed Wastewater for Drinking: Safe but Still a Tough Sell, National Geographic.