GOING DOWN THE TOILET: Warwick finds water security in waste
COULD you swallow the idea of drinking recycled water?
For Ian and Brent Macdonald, who have watched their life "turn to dust” during the drought, recycled water is an oasis of hope.
Without the supply of Class A recycled water to their nursery the Southern Downs Garden Centre would have gone under 12 months ago.
"That water allowed us to keep plodding along,” Ian said.
"We saw the writing on the wall.”
Since the pair turned off potable water five months ago they have become passionate advocates for the use of treated sewage.
Ian presented two cups of water to his staff, one potable, and one recycled, and reported that no one could tell the difference in clarity.
"70 per cent of the water we receive has no contact with sewage,” he said.
"If you take the recycled water just one more step with osmosis it would become drinkable.
"They make a top class product and somewhere down the track it'll be one of this town's greatest assets.”
The greatest hurdle for waste water recycling is the human "ick” factor, which saw neighbouring Toowoomba reject waste water recycling by 62 per cent in 2006.
It has, however, been implemented with success across the word in cities such as London and Singapore.
Greater public understanding could increase the chances of the Southern Downs embracing the unusual water source, according to Ian.
"The recycled water we currently have is less than 10 parts per million in e.coli and the Condamine River has 60,000 parts per million,” he said.
"I think I'll take my chances with the recycled water.”
"It's been an absolute god send.”