Queensland to drink waste water

People in the Australian state of Queensland will soon have to start drinking water containing recycled sewage, the state premier has warned.

Premier Peter Beattie said he had scrapped a referendum on the issue, because there was no longer a choice.

He also warned other Australian states might eventually have to do the same because of mounting water shortages.

Water is already recycled in places like Singapore and the UK, but the idea is still unpopular in Australia.

But the country is currently suffering from a severe drought – the worst on record. Last week Prime Minister John Howard declared water security to be the biggest challenge currently facing Australia, and he announced a A$10bn ($7.7bn; £3.9bn) package to tackle the problem.

Mr Beattie said that falling water levels had left his state administration with no option but to introduce recycled water in south-eastern Queensland, starting from next year.

“We’re not getting rain; we’ve got no choice,” he told ABC radio.

“These are ugly decisions, but you either drink water or you die. There’s no choice. It’s liquid gold, it’s a matter of life and death,” he said.

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