Click the link to read the article on The Denver Post website (Conrad Swanson). Here’s an excerpt:
Even when water is scarce, “people still flush their toilets,” former U.S. Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Dan Beard said.
This story is one part of a broader series about ways to save water from the drying Colorado River. See the full project here.
We all use the bathroom, clean our clothes, wash our dishes, take showers or baths, why not collect that water and reuse it? It’s already happening around the world and it’s a technology that’s proven to work.
Water providers can collect what’s called grey water from sinks, bathtubs, showers and laundry machines or even sewage, called blackwater, and treat it for reuse. Fort Collins began allowing grey water systems to be installed in the new buildings this summer and that water can be used to flush toilets or for below-ground irrigation. Mayor Jeni Arndt said using that water twice, whenever possible, is the responsible thing to do. She acknowledged that the approach might only save a few gallons per home each day but everything counts, plus the approach is a good way to encourage residents to think more sustainably about their water use…In some cases, the water can be treated and transformed back into drinking water. But it’s even easier to use the water again for non-potable purposes like irrigating crops, watering lawns, recharging groundwater sources and industrial uses, depending on how thoroughly it’s treated. Unlike desalination plants, Beard said water treatment plants could be built for much less money and within the span of a year or two. So they’re relatively quick and effective and a wise way to care for the water that’s already in use…
Plus, Jay Famiglietti, director of the Global Institute for Water Security at the University of Saskatchewan, said there’s only ever going to be so much water available for reuse.
“It’s driven by your supply of human waste,” he said. “That’s as much as you’re going to get.”