I have been working with some Canadians, who are looking at bringing to the UK their skills in re-using waste water. They did it very successfully at the Winter Olympics in Vancouver in 2010.
In essence, waste water in the UK is generally treated good enough to throw away. But it contains a rich stream of goodies – heat, fuel and water. If you can separate them it can become a genuine resource. It is clear that we need to look at ways in which we can better use the resources we are fast using up. As the population grows, we have to think about these sort of things.
I was amazed at the weekend to find an article (through Earth Baby’s excellent blog) about Denver in the United States. There it is illegal to re-use water. You buy your water from Denver Water – and you are allowed to use it – once! They you have to give it back to them – and they treat it! They claim they use it 7 or 8 times before giving it to Nebraska…
To make matters worse – Denver Water even claim right to the stuff that falls from the sky. It is illegal to collect rainwater and re-use it. You might own the gutters to the house, but you are collecting it for them (to clean up and sell back to you). There is some fan static language as to why – “it will injure vested water rights”. Oh, that’s ok then! At least we all know and you are upfront about it.
Putting to one side the arguments about monopolies, selling ice to Iceland and being ripped off generally, this is an amazing position to adopt in 2012. It surely can’t be sustainable on any level? America – leaders of the free world? Hmmmm.