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Would you drink toilet water?

Society Sustainablity


Sounds kind of gross, doesn’t it? Even if the toilet was never used? That’s the question raised by an installation at the Exploratorium in San Francisco, USA. It’s also a not-so-silly question for those of us who live in the Gulf, where 99% of our water is saline, and thus unfit for drinking.

But wait, how come our toilet water is drinkable? In fact, scientists in Qatar tested 113 tap water and 62 bottled water samples collected across the country and found all of them were safe to drink. So don’t worry if your child drinks out of the faucet or your cat out of the toilet! Read the whole story here.

By the way, where does our drinking water come from? Experiencing average rainfall between 20-40 cm per year and a rapid population growth, this is no secret that water resources are becoming increasingly scarce in the GCC countries. Water desalination has become the primary response to water shortage. Yet, not only is desalination energy-intensive and costly, but it can have significant negative impacts on the environment. This is why in countries like Singapore and Namibia, limited supplies of freshwater are already being augmented by adding treated wastewater to their drinking water.

How clean is the water after treatment? What can it be used for? Coming back to the title question, we probably don’t really need our toilet water to be drinkable, or do we? In fact there is a whole range of household and industry uses for which freshwater could be used instead of drinking water. Maybe this is a bit too controversial, but considering that the universal access to drinking water is a matter of life itself, is it even reasonable to use it as a commodity, to wash our dishes and clean our windows? Will we ever have to rethink our lifestyle and run lower quality freshwater through the distribution network?

Let’s talk! To learn about water desalination and water treatment in the Gulf, embark on an exploratory journey with eedama services for schools. We can take you on a field trip, or come in classrooms and explain you all about it, with fun hands-on experiments, water tasting and more.


Image credit: the Exploratorium

click on the link or on the image to watch people’s reactions to this toilet-looking water fountain