From Toilet to Tap: Waste Water Converted to Drinking Water in Southern California

Would you drink your toilet water? If you live in Southern California, you might not have a choice.

The Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District gave the green light this month to a $300,000 contract involving a treatment plant that converts waste water into purified drinking water and stores it in the San Gabriel Basin, according to The San Bernardino County Sun.

It's a plan intended to protect area residents during droughts.

"This will help us provide a high quality, local water supply to replace our lost imported water," Peter Rodriguez, spokesman for the water district, told the Sun.

The plant, which would resemble a facility in Orange County, Calif., that opened in January, could have a price tag as high as $70 million, the Sun reported. Officials defend the cost as reasonable considering Southern California drought conditions and climate shifts, as well as the dip in the imported water supply.

Similar systems have been implemented elsewhere in the state and country before. But convincing residents to drink treated sewage water isn't easy.

In Orange County, the project met with some backlash.

"This was not just an engineering feat, but a public-relations feat as well," Orange County Water District spokeswoman Gina DePinto told the Sun. "It was quite a challenge convincing the public that the water is safe to drink."

Click here for more on this story from The San Bernardino County Sun.