Texas Drought: Desperate Enough to Recycle Urine

By @ibtimes on
Tamika Davis wipes her face while waiting for a bus in Dallas
Tamika Davis wipes her face while waiting for a bus in Dallas, Texas, August 1, 2011. Scorching heat and lingering drought across Texas pushed electric use to a new all-time peak Monday afternoon as air conditioners operate nearly non-stop, according to the state grid operator. Temperatures of 108 Fahrenheit (42 Celsius) were recorded in the area. Reuters

Municipal water managers in Texas, where the drought has reached a painful point, have decided to recycle sewage water.

Lakes are drying up and water levels dropped with hot weather. West Texas, which normally gets over 7 inches of rain during this time of year, got less than 0.1 inch, and the Department of Agriculture Drought Monitor shows three quarters of the state in a serious drought.

In the town of Big Spring, the residents get water through the Colorado River Municipal Water District, which has prepared to capture treated wastewater for recycling.

"We're taking treated effluent (wastewater), normally discharged into a creek, and blending it with (traditionally supplied potable) water," district manager John Grant told Discovery News.

The system speeds up of what a natural process would take, with more pristine results, according to Grant.

"When you talk about toilet-to-(water) tank it makes a lot of people nervous and grossed out," says Terri Telchik, who works in the city manager's office in Big Spring, Texas.

But when times get tough, resorting to alternative solutions such as recycling wastewater could solve the problem.

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