Climate change: Could beer made from urine help water shortages?

·1-min read
Singapore water agency is involved in a new beer made from recycled and treated sewage (Getty Images)
Singapore water agency is involved in a new beer made from recycled and treated sewage (Getty Images)

Beer uses a lot of water. In fact, the drink is more than 90 per cent H2O.

So in a world facing an increasing threat of water shortages due to the climate crisis, Singapore has decided to do try something different to tackle the issue.

And it’s all to do with sewage.

Singapore’s water agency is rolling out a craft beer that is mostly made from wastewater.

The sewage is treated to become “ultra-clean” water, before it is used to create the tropical blonde ale.

So instead of using valuable water supplies, the 95 per cent water part of the beer is all recycled.

Singapore already treats sewage to create NEWater, which then gets pumped back into the system and is mainly used for industrial and air-conditioning purposes.

Its national water board says it does this to cushion water supply against dry weather.

During dry periods, the recycled sewage gets added to reservoirs, before the water there is treated and used as tap water.

NEWBrew - a craft beer which describes itself as having a “toasted, honey-like aftertaste” - is another way of keeping Singapore hydrated while protecting its water supplies.

And this is becoming even more important as the climate crisis increases the risk of droughts. Southeast Asia was warned about this in the latest International Panel for Climate Change report.

Water scarcity is also a global threat as temperatures rise. Last month, the United Nations warned one in four children could suffer from shortages by 2040 due to the impacts of the climate crisis.

But, aside from its environmental aims, drinkers seem to like the beer.

“It definitely goes down smooth,” one man told the BBC. “I could probably, if I wanted to, drink a whole lot of those.”

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