SAN DIEGO – San Diego, which bills itself as "America's finest city," is also one of the driest. So dry, in fact, that the city is considering turning its sewer water into drinking water.
"We'll treat it, treat it, treat it. And when it becomes reclaimed water, we'll pump it up to our reservoirs," said Frank Belock, the city's water department director.
The city currently gets 90 percent of its water from outside sources. But if it were to start reusing waste water instead of dumping it into the ocean, that recycled water could be pumped back into homes and businesses. The water department says the program would not only be a long-term answer to the city's short supply, but would also be good for the environment and perfectly safe.
Click on the video box above to see a report by FOX News' Trace Gallagher.
But one of the proposal's critics, former city Councilman Bruce Henderson, says there is no evidence reclaimed water is safe to drink. Moreover, the number of contaminants the Environmental Protection Agency tests for jumped from 22 in 1976 to around 100 today. Some experts believe there may be thousands in spoiled water.
Opponents complain that the unappetizing proposal is literally being shoved down their throats.
"If you really believe in 'toilet to tap,' put it on the ballot and see what voters want to do. If they want to engage in this health experiment, fine," Henderson said.
The last time voters were asked, they said 'no thanks' — but that was in 1999. The city is now launching a major public relations campaign to help voters get beyond the "yuck" factor.
San Diego has cited Orange County's successful "sewer to showers" program in arguing for its proposal. But critics say Orange County is pumping treated water to an underground aquifer, using the earth's natural filter in what they argue is much safer than science.