Water re-use

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Messiah
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Water re-use

Postby Messiah » Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:05 am UTC

Living in Brisbane, they're about to bring in re-using water, including treated sewerage. I'm all for it. However, the public at large are showing a significant majority (anywhere from 60-80%) against the use of treated sewerage in drinking water. The state government took an impressive step and jumped around them, deciding it was required if we were going to survive in the near future.

Anyone's thoughts? Would you drink it yourself? And what's your thoughts on whether or not the people here should have a say in whether or not they consume it?

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Postby Hawknc » Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:19 am UTC

They're resisting it because they're idiots, as the public usually are. They understand nothing except "oh noes it had poop in it", which is true in the same way that the air you breathed once had somebody's fart smell in it is true. Beattie earned a lot of my respect for doing what he had to do here, but I think people should have a choice - they can have recycled water (which is purer than tap water), or they can have no water, which is the other option when the dams dry up.
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Postby Messiah » Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:23 am UTC

Exactly my opinion. The reason I've decided to raise a question about it is because I received a pamphlet in the mail called "Think before you agree to drink: Is sewage a source of drinking water?" where they throw all sorts of misquoted and biased "facts" about in a legitimate attempt to bring the idea down. It annoys me, especially because there's a LOT of people out there who will fall for this scare-mongering rubbish, and believe it IS actually scientific opinion, just because they name some guy from Cali State University....

I think the sample of people here might be a little biased (since anyone getting most of the XKCD jokes will be relatively well educated), but we'll see what other opinions come up.

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Postby Hawknc » Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:48 am UTC

So much of it's political, too. You can bet a lot of the anti-recycled water propaganda's got some conservative money behind it...not necessarily Coalition, but the smaller more extreme parties put out a lot of crap. It's like evolution and climate change; they take perfectly good science, designed to help people, and warp into some political tool.

Or maybe they're just idiots, that could also be true.
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Postby Messiah » Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:52 am UTC

If anybody wants to read the pamphlet, head to http://waterfutures.blogspot.com

One of the people who created it, Snow Manners, is a Toowoomba liberal politician from memory. He was also claiming today in a radio interview that recycled water is an attempt to push the privatisation of water at a later date.

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Postby Hawknc » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:03 pm UTC

Oh Christ...that guy was responsible for the misinformation that led to Toowoomba's rejection of the proposal. He claimed it had hormones from birth control pills in it. :roll:

Anyway, I've made my point here - science rocks, people suck. If people want to doom themselves to having no water, that's their choice.
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Postby hermaj » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:15 pm UTC

I'm happy enough to drink recycled water. I have to drink something. Also there are no more or less water molecules now than what there were when everything began, so various lecturers have informed me. So when you think about where those molecules have already been, I mean it is not that big of a deal. Also, really, it is just water. It has not got excrement in it any more. So, basically what you guys have said but I wanted to say it too. :P

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Postby stuck » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:19 pm UTC

Messiah wrote:... a Toowoomba liberal politician...


I think we've found the problem, Messiah :D

They're considering the idea here in WA also but from what i hear it's a long way down the chain of options (desalination, river diversion and the tapping of new aquifers are the top choices apparently).

Still, i'm all for recycled water.

And this is why.
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Postby Grincement » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:21 pm UTC

I'm not sure if I'm confusing my self but I think we already used recycled water in the UK. There's the statistic that a glass of water you drink in london will have gone through 7 other people...

I think people here "recycled water" as "dirty water" which is completely not true...

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Postby Gordon » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:26 pm UTC

Haven't you people heard of brita?

What I mean by that is don't most people have some sort of home filtration system they use because everyone is overly paranoid nowadays anyway?

I used to live in Windsor which was right beside the Detroit river (dirtiest water imaginable). It's where we got our drinking water and it was actually some of the cleanest tap water in Ontario because the water started out dirtier they regulations for filtering it were stricter.
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Postby Grincement » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:29 pm UTC

Gordon wrote:Haven't you people heard of brita?


That just softens hard water it does nto "filter out impuritites" as such. Brita filters just remove the calcium ions from your water, but the madness is hard water could be considered better for you (extra calcium) than soft water, yet brita promotes it's filtered water as healthy and pure yet it increases the sodium content in your water, so the elderly are suggested not to use brita filters.
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Postby Hawknc » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:29 pm UTC

Home filters only remove heavy impurities like copper or chlorine, and not smaller impurities. Water recycling plants use membranes which filter out pretty much anything that isn't water.

And yes, I know you were probably joking, but that's seriously what people think water recycling entails - Brita-style water filtering. :P
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Postby Gordon » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:32 pm UTC

The brita thing was a bit sarcastic yes, but I dunno, a big thing in north american no adays is this reverse osmosis system that seems to be going into a lot of new homes. We had a few scares in Ontario with E Coli and such so everyone in the province is extra paranoid about drinking tap water. I figure the rest of the world (read: europe) is usually ahead of us as far as things like that are concerned so I just assumed it was a big thing in other parts of the world too.
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Postby Messiah » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:36 pm UTC

*Looks down at shirt on chest, looks up at screen again, gets feeling of dejavu* (I need to learn to type accents. The spelling just doesn't seem correct with them).

EDIT: Wow, I'm off my game, I went from replying to a post just above, to about 7 down and completely unrelated to the recent comments. Need to be quicker....

State Gov should be producing material going out to homes shortly which goes further in depth as to what's done in the purifying process. Seems a waste of money, but when everyone's convinced they're drinking poo water, it's probably necessary.
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Postby Gelsamel » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:45 pm UTC

Didn't a bunch of pipes explode in Melbourne?

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Postby Hawknc » Sat Mar 24, 2007 12:51 pm UTC

zomg the internet exploded? //obligatory

Or perhaps you mean a tunnel? :P (Too soon?)
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Postby German Sausage » Sat Mar 24, 2007 2:27 pm UTC

[url=http://www.theage.com.au/news/national/accident-waiting-to-happen/2007/03/24/1174597954764.html]yeah, the burnley tunnel got pwned recently.
[/url]

with regards to recycled h2o, duh, its a-ok.
what do they imagine water has been doing for however many millennia?
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Postby Shro » Sat Mar 24, 2007 4:43 pm UTC

My uni's got a huge microbiology department, and they own a whole bunch of water treatment facilities, some devoted to research, and some to actually purify water that is later used.

I don't think the term "recycled water" is very consumer friendly. There is also a science behind marketing well. "Treated water" works better I think.

And also, here's to politicians fuxing science hardcore. Everyone on the fora should run for some political office when we're old, so we can make our country a scientific, secular nation. Although that sounds kind of dystopian as well.
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Postby SnowManners » Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:08 pm UTC

Perhaps you would like to ask me some questions directly.

No I'm not a Liberal - but then I thought LiberalQld and LiberalNSW were advocating potable resue.

Messiah simply registered on this site yesterday to raise this issue and align it to some 'political agenda'.

Squeak, London does not have any water reuse scheme and Thames Water have set the record straight about 7-kidneys. Also SBS Dateline has set the record straight on Singapore and States in the USA are about to regulate to prohibit the use of recycled water.

What you will find as you move forward is that the whole argument in favour of recycled water as presented in Queensland is seriously flawed.

I'm happy to take your questions.

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Postby Grincement » Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:15 pm UTC

SnowManners wrote:Perhaps you would like to ask me some questions directly.
Squeak, London does not have any water reuse scheme and Thames Water have set the record straight about 7-kidneys. Also SBS Dateline has set the record straight on Singapore and States in the USA are about to regulate to prohibit the use of recycled water.


Ok, am I misunderstanding the term "recycled water" as I believe the whole of the UK has sewage treatment plants that release the cleaned water back in the rivers and where do we get our water from? Rivers.....

Now I'm confused as to how other countries get their water....
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Postby SnowManners » Sat Mar 24, 2007 10:59 pm UTC

Yes London does have sewage treatment plants in the Thames Valley upstream from their water intakes. They draw the water into London then once used it is expelled downstream and out to sea. So maybe some has been through a set of kidneys once before. Reusing water in an unplanned way like this is the source of conjecture about health effects for example: Sperm changes linked to drinking water. London is a bad example for those proposing recycled water and most rational water scientists don't quote it as an example. London does not deliberately recycle one drop of water.

Other places quoted by the Queensland Water Commission as recyling water, such as Washington are also suspect. The Washington Post ran this story last September Pollution Concerns Arise In Drinking-Water Source. For me to raise that publicly risks ridicule - 'fish changing sex - Oh what a joke!!'.

The fact is that there is no community on this planet that deliberately takes water from the sewage treatment plant and puts it back into their drinking water. The Americans have become so shy about the idea that some states are about to introduce regulations that prohibit the use of water reclaimed from sewage for any domestic use including not using it for flushing toilets.

Other countries get their water from dams, rivers, bores, desalination plants, rainwater tanks and every other means you are already familiar with - but absolutely no one gets it from the sewage treatment plant where all the strange chemicals synthesised by man congregate.

Singapore doesn't drink it and in fact has the biggest desalination plant in Asia - read SBS TV Dateline Transcript from last week (March 21 2006) Singapore Taste Test. Singapore use the water for industry.

It makes me suspicious when the government deliberately distorts the truth and then embarks on a campaign using people like 'Messiah' to discredit opponents.

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Postby Peshmerga » Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:11 pm UTC

"Politically motivated"

Nothing on the national level isn't politically motivated - the trick is to pick the side that does the most good. As for SnowManners and Messiah suddenly registering to this forum on the same day - I'm a bit curious what THEIR motivations are.
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Postby SnowManners » Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:23 pm UTC

I simply registered to rebut Messiah's post.

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Postby Peshmerga » Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:31 pm UTC

Messiah wrote:If anybody wants to read the pamphlet, head to http://waterfutures.blogspot.com

One of the people who created it, Snow Manners, is a Toowoomba liberal politician from memory. He was also claiming today in a radio interview that recycled water is an attempt to push the privatisation of water at a later date.


It's not like you accidentally stumbled in. Obviously you two are in cahoots (or perhaps, bitter rivals), unless you Google your own alias like a madman. Or you're both simply one in the same (created to stir up conversation?).

Notwithstanding, throwing news posts at me isn't going to change my mind on anything, and no one should find themselves leaning to one side or another because of them. If you have statistics, opinions, or fancy graphs to share, please do. Otherwise, right now, you're looking awfully suspicious.
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Postby SnowManners » Sat Mar 24, 2007 11:37 pm UTC

The server admin at http://waterfutures.blogspot.com send me a list of sites referring to that blog. It had four hits from this thread.

Messiah spends a lot of his time logging onto discussion groups trying to discredit anyone opposed to recyled water. Why? Ask him - but I suspect he won't return.

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Postby hermaj » Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:06 am UTC

Don't tell me you guys - either of you - just registered here to do a bit of electioneering, because that would annoy me quite a bit.

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Postby German Sausage » Sun Mar 25, 2007 2:53 am UTC

SnowManners wrote:Messiah simply registered on this site yesterday to raise this issue and align it to some 'political agenda'.

this is not a rebuttal. nor does it put you in a superior position. mostly because you registered fro much the same reason - to post in one topic, without using the rest of the fora.
at least he(assumed) had the decency to post in the introductions thread and a few others.

what i really want to happen is for at least one of these two to come out with raised hands and sheepishly admit "the jig is up. i am actually _____, a politician's aide."

plus pesh, i agree. news has its own spin. we need actual information.
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Postby Messiah » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:15 am UTC

Damn, the jig is up. I'm Peter Beattie's personal aide......Or not. Considering the XKCD forums are largely american, it's not exactly the ideal location for a "planned attack." Especially since I appear to be preaching to the choir.

Although whoever is claiming to be Snow Manners is doing a GREAT job of pretending, I have a feeling it's not him because of this....
SnowManners wrote:The Washington Post ran this story last September Pollution Concerns Arise In Drinking-Water Source. For me to raise that publicly risks ridicule - 'fish changing sex - Oh what a joke!!'.

He's been mentioning the fish changing sex quite a lot, it's a strong point. Kudos on the attempt though, I especially like the claims of a government conspiracy, because wildly outrageous claims and hypocritical behaviour is Snow's forte.

I'll still argue the points though, as if it were him - All the facts you're using, for losing sperm count, fish changing sex etc are all about water from the current methods, or in the original waterbody (stream, lake, dam). Recycled water has gone through numerous treatments to remove these toxins, chemicals and other pollutants, and THEN gone through normal water purification methods. If anything, the concerns about water pollution affecting sperm in British males would be an argument against their current water purification process.

If I was supporting any government, it would be communist. I'm just a scientist who hates the misuse of facts. I'll also take on global warming deniers, once I'm...warmed up.

The one question that'll help determine if it is indeed him - which Queensland FM radio station(s) have you given interviews to?

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Postby hermaj » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:22 am UTC

Okay. Quick question I would very much like answered. Acutally, maybe some blanks to fill in would also be good.

My name is Messiah/SnowManners and I know all this water stuff because I ______________. My agenda in bringing this stuff up is ___________.

Also, who are you people to each other?

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Postby Belial » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:23 am UTC

Couldn't all of this be dismissed by taking a glass of recycled water and just...analyzing it for harmful chemicals?

If you can't find anything, it probably doesn't matter. If you can, then you probably need to refine your recycling process.

This isn't hard, guys.

Also, I do not take kindly to other fora's forum drama being waged in ours. Address each others' arguments, and not B.S. from other fora.
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Postby Messiah » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:36 am UTC

@ hermaj:
My name is Messiah and I know all this water stuff because I am a 3rd year Wildlife Biology at UQ, and anything I don't know about already I have enough research experience to follow up in journals, etc compiled by people with big degrees. My agenda in bringing this stuff up is I am utterly appalled at how ignorant the vast majority is. I've also been particularly angry after reading the "educational" pamphlet real Snow put out, and then hearing him in a radio interview. Connection to each other - If he really is Snow Manners, no link. If he's someone faking, again no link.

Been browsing the XKCD forums for a while, decided to join, and then when I saw the serious business section thought I'd raise a discussion about it to see what younger, educated people think. Just so I don't cry myself to sleep each night about how stupid mankind really is.

If anyone cares enough to find out if it really is him, I'm not exactly computer skilled, but you could talk to him through legitimate channels like Toowoomba council's website, and compare the I.P addresses or something. I don't know, as I said, no computer skills really. I just browse the series of tubes know as the internets.
http://www.toowoomba.qld.gov.au/index.php?option=com_content&task=blogcategory&id=136&Itemid=381

Getting back to the actual argument though - it could indeed by dismissed by that, however one of the (legitimate) claims made by Snow is that we have no way of measuring what exactly is harmful in the water. It's both a correct and incorrect statement - we can test the water now, but we can never guarantee a knowledge of all possible toxins/carcinogens/etc, so we wouldn't be able to look for them until we knew they were they. People have already drunk recycled water, both a glass here and there for promotional use, and in huge quantities. Side effects may not show for 50+ years though, and we just don't have the time to wait that long, only to prove that we were right to begin with. A step towards a completely recyclable society is needed, especially with the drought.

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Postby warriorness » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:36 am UTC

Belial wrote:Couldn't all of this be dismissed by taking a glass of recycled water and just...analyzing it for harmful chemicals?

If you can't find anything, it probably doesn't matter. If you can, then you probably need to refine your recycling process.


Pure logic such as this doesn't seem to apply to some people (I won't name any particular viewpoints outside of recycled water). They'd say "But it still comes from the sewage. There's something fundamentally wrong about that! It still MIGHT have germs and crap in it...! etc etc".
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Postby jestingrabbit » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:41 am UTC

hermaj wrote:Okay. Quick question I would very much like answered. Acutally, maybe some blanks to fill in would also be good.

My name is Messiah/SnowManners and I know all this water stuff because I ______________. My agenda in bringing this stuff up is ___________.

Also, who are you people to each other?


If you google Snow Manners, you get a bunch of sites where he's referred to as a councilor in toowoomba. I suspect he thinks he knows his stuff because he's spent some time researching it, though it seems to me that he's taken a biased sample and drawn his conclusions from that (reminds me of one of the dirk gently novels where someone sells software that will construct the chain of reasoning to support the conclusion you want to draw).

It makes sense to me to use recycled water for the tasks that don't involve a person directly, ie flushing a toilet, watering the garden, other outdoors uses. On the new inventors, a show on tv here, several home based water recycling devices have been mentioned. If I ever get a house, I'll probably try and install one myself, just like I'll try and get some solar panels (now that the time to recoupe costs isn't an eon).

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Postby Messiah » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:49 am UTC

Requirements for potable water use only take about 17% of our full water use, and yes using recycled water for those requirements is a definite benefit. But because we're so low, we need everything we can grab, so even that 17% should be made as efficient as possible.

Just so everyone knows, the government is also looking at other sources of water to actually refill the dam (because all water recycling does is uses what we currently have more efficiently). These options include desalination.

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Postby Hawknc » Sun Mar 25, 2007 3:55 am UTC

Hmm...alright, I'll bite, though the obvious thing to do here would be to get an IP check done.

Mr Manners, have you had much of a look at the scientific methods behind the water recycling system to be used in Queensland (and, prior to this, in Toowoomba)? The tests that have been run on that method of recycling show it to be purer than drinking water.

RE: your links, I'm not sure what the bass changing sexes has to do with recycled water? The Potomac is a potable source, yes, but it isn't recycled. If that article is any indication, the water utilities don't run the water through the same membranes and filters that the Queensland system would use. Additionally, though I don't have access to the full article on sperm changes in men, the study admits that it is "far from conclusive" and only links it to water pollution, which could have sources downstream of any recycled water. I'll post again later once I've had a chance to review the scientific literature regarding the methods which will be implemented in QLD, but I hope that clears up some misconceptions you have about the system for now.
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Postby Gelsamel » Sun Mar 25, 2007 8:15 am UTC

And no, I meant there were a bunch of water pipes that blew up, once was in Ballarat I believe, and some in Melbourne caused by an "unknown pressure increase".

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Postby German Sausage » Mon Mar 26, 2007 3:13 am UTC

Messiah wrote:Damn, the jig is up. I'm Peter Beattie's personal aide......Or not. Considering the XKCD forums are largely american, it's not exactly the ideal location for a "planned attack." Especially since I appear to be preaching to the choir.


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Postby VannA » Mon Mar 26, 2007 9:47 pm UTC

stuck wrote:
Messiah wrote:... a Toowoomba liberal politician...


I think we've found the problem, Messiah :D

They're considering the idea here in WA also but from what i hear it's a long way down the chain of options (desalination, river diversion and the tapping of new aquifers are the top choices apparently).

Still, i'm all for recycled water.

And this is why.


Argh.

Desalination is fine. It's just power hungry.

River Diversion and aquifer tapping are some of the reasons western NSW has the water problems it already has. We've fucked enough with the natural water systems in this country.

My other concern is regarding the the pricing of water.

It is simply too cheap. We need to reprice water, based on usage patterns (10Kl - Free, 10-50Kl - x/kl. 50-100kl - x2/kl, etc)

Crops need to change, and industrial water prices need to match consumer prices.

ONCE those prices are set, then it will become cheaper for industry and homes to investigate water recycling/re-usage within their own spheres of influence.

Current water prices are ridiculous, and in a capitalist society, where what you pay for, is yours, people are not going to change their habits.
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Postby Messiah » Tue Mar 27, 2007 2:45 am UTC

VannA wrote:Desalination is fine. It's just power hungry.

River Diversion and aquifer tapping are some of the reasons western NSW has the water problems it already has. We've fucked enough with the natural water systems in this country.

My other concern is regarding the the pricing of water.

It is simply too cheap. We need to reprice water, based on usage patterns (10Kl - Free, 10-50Kl - x/kl. 50-100kl - x2/kl, etc)

Crops need to change, and industrial water prices need to match consumer prices.

ONCE those prices are set, then it will become cheaper for industry and homes to investigate water recycling/re-usage within their own spheres of influence.

Current water prices are ridiculous, and in a capitalist society, where what you pay for, is yours, people are not going to change their habits.


Unfortunately, we can't really afford to change crops at this point. We can, however, change how we grow these crops. Single species, all clones from one source, spread over acres of land, it's pointless. Disease and insects can easily wipe them out, the lack of a decent root system leads to a rising water table and then salinity. Re-using the same land over and over without replacing any of the nutrients (properly, not just with fertilisers) leads to overworked and bare land that's no good anymore. IMO, changing the way we approach everything, especially water related areas, and making them more renewable would solve a vast majority of our current problems. Water re-use is a correct step in that direction, but unfortunately, isn't the only step that needs to be taken.

And I definitely agree that using aquifiers will only destroy the land further. Seems at the moment like it may not have a lasting effect, but it's clear that it has purpose, one we don't completely understand at present.
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Postby a thing » Sun Apr 29, 2007 8:44 am UTC

All water use is reuse... unless someone found out a way to create matter.
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