Water reclamation for potable purposes has been getting a fair amount of exposure in the popular press. For example, Treehugger has a couple of articles, including one here, and last year the NY Times Magazine ran one on the subject.  There’s a need to add some important information for people to consider.

One factor these articles miss is the massive cost of water reclamation for potable use, only to have most of that water go to non-potable purposes, such as toilet flushing. The authors of these articles need to do follow-ups on dual plumbing systems. When installed in new areas, these systems can be cost-effective, and there are approaches for retrofitting existing systems that merit consideration. The result is two systems: one distribution system for non-potable water, and a smaller one with high quality potable water. The benefits of this approach are many, including conserving the best fresh water sources for potable purposes, potentially delaying or eliminating movement toward “toilet to tap” in many areas.