August of a long hot summer breaks with news that a full half of US counties – 1,584 in 32 states – are now designated primary disaster areas. This 2012 drought impacts local, national and international levels: farm communities face economic ruin, struggling America’s families must pay more for food, and hungry people around the world will be hungrier.
Isn’t it time for a broad rethink of priorities in our water use? Can we move beyond unsustainable flush-and-forget practices? Ecological sanitation – including waterless toilets and the recycling of nutrients in agricultural production – is the way forward. Problems with using fresh water to transport Americans’ feces and urine to revenue-ravenous wastewater treatment plants include soil contamination, water pollution, air quality issues, and sewage sludge disposal.