Oh, I could give you a lovely list of the ingredients in our sewerage water, but not much imagination is needed for you to conjure up your own mental list.
Instead of running short of water, building expensive and power hungry desalination plants and stealing water from other parts of the state, why don't we just recycle sewerage water? Some of you are saying why not and some of you are saying yuk, I won't drink it.
If you have been to Singapore or London, you have already, or if you only drank bottled water, at least bathed in it. As well as being fully treated, it is also diluted with much larger volumes of fresh water, which seems to be standard practice.
Everytime I hear someone say they will never drink recycled sewerage water, I cast my mind back to The Age's Kenneth Davidson column written on Feb 12th 2009, shortly after Victoria's fires. Here is an extract.
Ironically, the one-quarter of Melbourne households that have been using recycled water since 1980 now have the most secure potable water supply. Most of those in the northern suburbs who use this water are unaware that it is recycled sewage produced by other Melburnians living around Lilydale. The Winneke purification plant has operated without customer complaint for almost 30 years on the principle that what the people don't know won't hurt the politicians.
Mr Davidson is a very clever man who I admire muchly and trust, so I am prepared to accept his word.
But just in case, I researched for thirty seconds to verify his statement. Well, someone is not talking. Melbourne Water tells me it does recycle water collected from non pristine catchments, that is downstream of farms and towns. From the Winneke Treatment Plant, the water goes into the Sugarloaf Reservoir. But it is not quite the same thing. I can't find anything about directly recycling sewerage water for use as drinking water. Perhaps they see no need to tell the punters.
For mine, I don't care, so long as it is clean. I will just add the proviso that I have a recollection from our Northern Territory when a plumber made some wrong pipe connections and not very highly treated contaminated water was coming out drinking and wash basin taps. Why was everyone suddenly getting sick? It is always the human element that screws things up.