Two of Canberra's top experts on water have called for a radical rethink on where we get our drinking water from.
We might need to process sewage to make it safe to drink, according to the man who ran the ACT's water supply company for 10 years.
Asoka Wijeratne, who was the general manager of ActewAGL during the millennium drought, said that the climate seemed to be changing so fast that new ways of supplying drinking water may be needed.
One option would be "treated sewage effluent" to get drinking water.
He also mooted the idea of desalination plants powered by nuclear power.
"Desalination process requires energy and lots of it.
"So here is a 'solution' - nuclear power.
"Whilst this has been a no-go zone, given the emission debate, the use of nuclear power cannot be hidden under the table for too long."
Building coal-fired power stations to keep desalination plants going was not an option, he felt.
"So the abundant uranium deposits buried in Australia after all may have a very important role to play in the foreseeable future. It is worth the debate."
He says that, at the moment, sewage is dumped in rivers, sometimes upstream of treatment plants so, in effect, it does already get recycled into the drinking water system.
Treating sewage means removing the excrement and then processing the water which remains with a heavy does of chemical treatments.
Whatever is decided, options need to be discussed with urgency.
"We need to have the rational discussion when things are reasonably normal - not when we are in the middle of a drought and backs against the wall.
"Now seems to be a good time to commence the discussion."
The call for a debate was echoed by Professor Ian White of the ANU.
"What we need to do is to have a rational debate as to what population our water resources can adequately maintain through the expected doubling of extreme events and to invest in and encourage the wise use of water, making every drop count," the ANU Emeritus Professor of Water Resources said.
He had sympathy for the idea of treating sewage waste to make the water extracted drinkable (potable). It was already done to get water for irrigation.
"Recycling treated waste water for potable use is standard practice world wide and could be done at the local scale in Canberra."
Professor White said that there would be consequences. In particular, it could decrease the amount of water going into the Murrumbidgee and eventually the Murray-Darling Basin.
It could also raise costs because the existing system of pipes would have to be revamped.