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Drinking Water from Down Under

According to a recent poll conducted by ACNielsen, in cooperation with the Sydney Morning Herald, 78 per cent of Australians would be willing to drink recycled sewage water, including toilet water, provided that it was treated to drinking water standards.

This represents a sea change of public opinion. Two years ago, a UMR Research poll found that 68% of Australians were “uncomfortable” with drinking recycled water. Until recently, the Australian government ruled out grey- and blackwater recycling because of this “yuck factor.”

Yet as drought continues to ravage the country this summer, Deputy Premier Anna Bligh said says the reality of a parched future is setting in. As she told a Courier Mail reporter, “Not only is it increasingly inevitable that we will have to use purified water as soon as the pipe is available but we may have to use it for quite a long time…What is the point of offering people a vote on something that is not optional?”