Mike “Never seen a hornet’s nest I don’t like to kick” Aguirre is back at it. With his usual “state the obvious and stand back while everyone reacts in shock” (as in “My but isn’t that Sunroad building in Kearny Mesa just a tad high?”) Aguirre pointed out Tuesday that San Diego is just going to have to find itself additional sources of agua. That is, if we want to keep the taps tapping, toilets flushing and sprinklers sprinkling anywhere near as much as we do now.
And a primary source would be to recycle waste waters, pumping all that liquid gold we now pump into the sea through treatment plants and back to our taps.
Critics have long derided this concept as “Toilet to Tap,” which helps conjure up such primal associations of revulsion amongst people (After all, none of us ever really have recovered from that ordeal of potty training now, have we?) that the resulting visceral reaction by the public always makes this idea a non-starter, flushed without even having the chance to flush.
OK, all you out there terrified by “Toilet to Tap”, I’ve got one eensy-weensy question for you. Where the heck do you think your tap water is coming from right now?
San Diego imports most of its water and the biggest glass of that water comes from the Colorado River, beginning as snow melt in Colorado before taking to its fourteen hundred miles of wandering to the Sea of Cortez. San Diego is at the end of that long spigot. Between us and that pristine snow pack everyone seems to think is still flowing through their taps here in San Diego millions of living creatures dip their feet and whatever else into this water source.
Okay, forget about the bears and other forest fuzzies wizzing into our water supply as it courses through that bio-hazard of microbes and bacteria affectionately known as nature. But think about the millions of people between us and that Rocky Mountain high sticking straws into the Colorado, sucking out what they need and then flushing back what they’ve used into its so–called pristine waters. Where do you think the good peoples of Colorado, Utah, Nevada and Arizona send their flushings? Some abandoned salt mine two mountains over from the nuclear waste storage facility? And all those hundreds of thousands of weekend sailors out on Lakes Powell and Meade? You think they take their leftovers back home in a ziplock? Think again.
The fact is, by the time the mighty Colorado reaches California, its waters have already been significantly muddied by the feet (metaphorically) of millions of others. We are already recycling other peoples’ leftovers. So maybe it’s time to put the hysterical three year old in us who runs out of the room screaming “Toilet to Tap! Koodies! Yucky!” to bed once and for all.
Grow up, San Diego. If you want pristine water move to a moon of Jupiter. In our closed system biosphere we call earth everything has been recycled countless times. If it’s any consolation, just think that some of the molecules in that next glass of water you get from the tap today may have flowed through Mose’s or Ghandi’s colon! That’s the way it works.
So go easy on Aguirre when you want to maul him for again having the audacity to state the obvious. You’re already drinking toilet to tap. What’s one more trip through the reclamation plant, then?