Recycled sewage a hot topic
Aucklanders say they won’t drink treated sewage unless national water priorities change.
Last month Raveen Jaduram, chief executive of Watercare, said the council controlled organisation was looking at the possibility of reusing treated sewage for either human consumption, industry, agriculture or reinjection into the aquifer.
Similar action was posited in the Australian city of Toowoomba, but residents rejected the idea because of the ‘‘yuck factor’’.
The main reservations of members on New Zealand community social media site Neighbourly wasn’t that drinking recycled sewage was gross, but that it should not happen while New Zealand’s clean water was bottled and sold overseas.
In Waikato Coca-Cola extracts water for its Pump Brand. In Canterbury Japanese company Suntory Holdings extracts water for its H2Go and Mizone drinks.
Oravida bottles water in the Bay of Plenty, a Latvian company sells water under the Tongariro Springs brand and Kiwaii water, sold in 40 US states, bottles Hawke’s Bay water.
In Jackson Bay on the South Island’s west coast, consent was given in May for water export company Okuru to export 800,000 tonnes of water monthly, despite fierce opposition.
Glendowie resident Kathy Weston asked why Aucklanders might have to drink sewage when the country’s clean spring water was going cheap to companies to sell overseas.
‘‘Fresh water is the world’s most precious commodity and we give it away so we can drink sewage,’’ Weston said.
Ellerslie resident Lorraine Fairest said she wouldn’t drink treated sewage, but she would be happy to use it for cleaning and watering the garden.
‘‘One of the advantages of living in New Zealand is good quality drinking water made by nature, not by man,’’ Fairest said.
Hillsborough resident Peter Crowley said he wasn’t willing to drink treated sewage.
‘‘Not while we are giving our crystal clear water away to big business who are exporting it and making a fortune.’’
Onehunga resident Christina Sajewicz said she would drink it - if she was dying of thirst.
‘‘If we had to reuse dirty water, it should be for washing ourselves, laundry and flushing toilets,’’ Sajewicz said.
Watercare chief executive Raveen Jaduram says the future of treated sewage is changing.