Brits warned get used to drinking recycled loo water to avoid shortages

Brits need to get used to drinking recycled toilet water to avoid shortages, experts claim.

Environment Agency chief Sir James Bevan said we had to be “less squeamish” about necking water previously used to flush the loo.

Otherwise we could be left thirsty in just 20 years time, he claimed.

READ MORE: Brits could be forced to leave windows filthy for months due to drought

Water firms are now planning ‘toilet-to-tap’ systems that will treat sewage from toilets, sinks and bathtubs to make it safe to drink.

It comes as scientists warn we need seven months of heavy rain to bring rivers and reservoirs back up to normal levels.

Sir James said: “We will need to be less squeamish about where our drinking water comes from. Part of the future solution will be to reprocess the water that results from sewage treatment and turn it back into drinking water.”

He claimed it was “perfectly safe and healthy, but not something many people fancy”.

Scientists hope the scheme will ease the pressure on rivers, groundwater and reservoirs, which are being dried up by climate change.

Several water companies, including Severn Trent, Affinity Water, Thames Water, Southern Water and Portsmouth Water, are already planning the waste recycling schemes. Construction could begin by 2025 and they could be in use by 2030.

The Government has asked Cranfield University, in Bedfordshire, to research “public perceptions” of the plan.

Dr Heather Smith, of Cranfield Water Science Institute, said: “Some wastewater already gets turned into drinking water because it is cleaned and put into the rivers.

“But when you talk about planning to take effluent deliberately and turn it into tap water, there might be a bit more squeamishness about it.”

The Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said water suppliers will submit draft proposals for the new plants in October.

There will then be a public consultation from November onwards.

Meanwhile forecasters have warned only a very wet autumn and winter can end the UK’s current drought.

It would take at least 20% more rain than usual for seven months to bring groundwater levels back to normal by spring.

But the Met Office is already predicting a dry September, with “temperatures generally above average” into the later weeks.

Even if rainfall returns to average levels, most current hosepipe bans are expected to stay in place.

A spokesman for the National Drought Group said: “The recent rainfall in some parts of the country is not enough to replenish rivers, groundwater or reservoirs to normal levels. That will require a return to sustained average or above average rainfall.”

READ NEXT:

  • Massive swathes of UK 'moving into drought status' as heatwave misery goes on

  • Beavers are Britain's secret weapon against drought as summer heatwave continues

  • Drivers could risk £5,000 fine following Met Office yellow weather warnings

Source: Read Full Article