You Want Me to Drink WHAT?

Jeffrey Coolidge | Photodisc | Getty Images

Get ready to drink your own pee.

Oh yeah. Seriously.

Rob Britt, editor of www.livescience.com says it's the only, er, solution that's cost effective enough to sustain a growing human population in the face of a fixed (at best) water supply.

"The term 'drought' has lost its meaning," Britt writes. "The truth is, we consume more water than nature provides."

I'm afraid I'm a little tired of all the Doomsday scenarios, but, for the purposes of this blog, I'll accept the argument that as humans keep proliferating and building and moving forward, there's only so much fresh water. "Desalination, a potential savior, is still too expensive to be practical on larges scales, but it holds promise for many locales," says Britt.

Hence, we'll all eventually be supplementing our water intake with our own water.

Britt points out that many communities, especially in the dry Southwest, already use recycled sewage water for municipal landscaping, with warning signs not to drink the stuff. I asked him how much it would cost to filter urine to make it potable. "It cost NASA about $250 million to develop and deploy a system to recycle urine and wastewater to the International Space Station," he says, which doesn't make it sound cheap versus desalination. However, he says that based on current city landscaping recycling, "Urban or community facilities...would cost millions of dollars."

"It cost NASA about $250 million to develop and deploy a system to recycle urine and wastewater to the International Space Station." " -LiveScience.com, Rob Britt

Uh, how does it taste? He said a woman at NASA drank 4-year-old recycled urine and said, "It tastes fine," but then "laughed and sounded a little unsure of the whole thing." Four years? Is it supposed to age well?

I asked Britt if he's ever drunk any. "I've never tried it and kind of hope I don't have to."


Perhaps they could sell flavored versions to help consumers overcome an initial reluctance?

An initial huge reluctance. Perhaps insurmountable. But maybe unavoidable.

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"I doubt we'll see urine recyclers in homes anytime soon, but the technology exists," Britt says.

"Long before then, you'll likely be drinking someone else's pee.

The Orange County Water District, among others, already recycles sewage into water that's injected into groundwater systems and then eventually pumped to become tap water."

Remind me to ask for bottled water next time I'm in the OC.

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