People Should Drink Way More Recycled Wastewater

The future drinking water runs through a complex and loud network of pipes, tanks, and cylinders on a hilltop in San Diego. The North City Water Reclamation Plant transforms very un-drinkable wastewater into a pure liquid that would cause havoc if it were not treated further.
The system first treats the wastewater with ozone. This destroys viruses and bacteria. It then pumps the water through filters that are stuffed with coal granules, which trap organic solids. The water then passes through fine membranes to capture any solids or microbes. Amy Dorman, deputy director at Pure Water San Diego, a city initiative to reduce dependence on imported water, says that the pores are so tiny you can't even see them with a magnifying glass. They allow water molecules to pass through.

To make sure that the water is free from microbes and other contaminants, UV light is used. This is water in its purest form-too pure! The final phase involves conditioning the liquid by adding minerals to it. The water could leach copper from pipes without this. It would absorb your electrolytes like water if you drank it.

It may sound complicated to obtain water from the American West, but it is because of its complex climate crisis. San Diego and the rest of Southern California have historically relied upon water from Northern California's Colorado River. They have always been at the other end of the line. It hydrates 40,000,000 people in Colorado, Wyoming and Utah, Arizona and Nevada. The river is also suffering from a drought that has been a warning sign of worsening water shortages as the climate warms.

San Diego must find a way to use less water. Pure Water aims to supply more than 40% of San Diego's water from local sources by 2035. It does this by recycling water from homes and businesses. This means that water has been used to flush toilets, sinks, and washing machines. Todd Gloria, San Diego's mayor, said that we are diversifying our portfolio. We are heavily dependent on water from faraway places, which is a problem we must address.


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