Climate change and drought increasingly stress our rivers and lakes. As the world begins to rethink the foundation of its water supply, water filtration technology which purifies raw sewage has proven more cost-effective than desalination. New advances in filtration technology convert human sewage into purified water fit for human consumption.
Very little of our current water supply is naturally pure. There is sewage and industry waste in almost every water source used for human consumption. Previously, water from treated sewage was used solely for irrigating crops, and watering parks and golf courses—the “non-potable water” seen in public venues. Current technology converts that toilet-to tap water so purely that it is quantifiably cleaner than water derived from traditional chemical treatments.
Currently, recycled wastewater is available on an industrial scale for cities; for example, the plant in Orange County California pumps out 100 million gallons of drinking water daily. San Diego, CA announced plans to produce 33% of its water from recycled sewage by 2035, and governments in Australia, China, India, Israel, Spain, and areas throughout the Middle East and sub-Saharan Africa are developing recycled wastewater systems. Bill Gates is currently funding a pilot program in Senegal, aimed at providing at-home water recycling for developing-world markets.