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SA consider other water sources to flush loos - 13 December 2007

Tony Carnie
December 10 2007 at 08:07PM

Instead of wasting top-quality drinking water to flush toilets or to water gardens, South Africa is looking at the feasibility of using recycled sewage water, storm water or sea water.

The proposed dual water reticulation scheme is known as the "purple pipe system" in some countries because recycled water pipes are colour-coded in purple or lilac to distinguish them from drinking water pipes.

The colour-coding is intended to ensure that people do not drink the second-grade water supply by accident, and also to reduce the risk of accidental cross-connections during plumbing alterations

The Water Research Commission in Pretoria says the purple option continues to attract interest at high political level - despite findings that suggest recycling and desalination are too expensive.

The cost of altering home plumbing is also seen a major barrier.

But Jay Bhagwan, the commission's director for water use and waste management, says recycling technology has evolved considerably since the studies in the late 1960s.

Because South Africa is likely to face significant water shortages in the near future, the commission has decided to revisit purple pipe options.

Read the rest of this article from IOL here