Toilet water as tasty as bottled water, say scientists

Two-thirds of humanity currently live in zones that experience water scarcity at least one month a year. Half of those people are in China and India.

Toilet water as tasty as bottled water, say scientists
(Representational image)

New Delhi: In a bid to curb global water shortage, scientists conducted the first ever 'blind test' of 'toilet tap water', saying that recycled toilet water is just as tasty as bottled water.

Test volunteers even admitted that they preferred it to drinking water.

Calling for marketing campaigns to make sewage water 'less scary', scientists at the University of California, Riverside, claimed that people have to accept drinking water that comes directly from toilets amid fears of a global water shortage, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

Recycled toilet water is safe to drink because it contains no harmful components, which are all flushed out before it enters the drinking supply.

As per the Daily Mail, Daniel Harmon, lead author, said: 'It seems that this term [wastewater], and the idea of recycled water in general, evokes disgust reactions.

'It is important to make recycled water less scary to people who are concerned about it, as it is an important source of water now and in the future.'

The 'blind' taste test involved 143 volunteers and indirect potable reuse (IDR) water.

Researchers placed IDR-treated water, tap water and commercially bottled water in three identical cups that weren't labelled.

Participants were then asked to rank the taste of each of the three different types of waters on a scale ranging from one to five.

Researchers, who were expecting that the waters would score equally, were baffled when tap water emerged as the least preferred option, the Daily Mail reported.

Furthermore, volunteers who were branded as nervous or anxious were found to like the taste of the IDR-treated and bottled water more.

However, participants defined as being more open to new experiences were found to find little difference in taste between the three samples.

The IDR system recycles used water and places it back into the drinking supply.

Scientists have repeatedly tested the safety of IDR – but no experiments on its taste had ever been conducted prior to this.

Two-thirds of humanity currently live in zones that experience water scarcity at least one month a year. Half of those people are in China and India.

The notion of drinking recycled wastewater has gained momentum in California recently amid years of drought.

As per the Daily Mail report, six water agencies in the Golden State already use technology dubbed 'from toilet to tap', including the city of Los Angeles.

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