The other day I was watching the History Channel and they had on a show about different doomsday scenarios. One was the fact that our country is running out of water. As a resident of Michigan that is easy to believe. One just has to look at the shoreline to see how far they have receded and the area isn't suffering from any droughts either. As a gardener, I can tell you, no water, no food.
Less than two hundred years ago, water was an important factor in choosing where you lived. When you have to lug water by the bucketfuls, nearness to water becomes a priority! Our forefathers would never have dreamt of large populations living in the desert as they do now. This generation has really taken our water for granted. I know I'm guilty of letting the tap run and full force while I brush my teeth, and of lingering longer than necessary in the shower.
We can all take small steps to save water. It might not make much of a difference in your water bill, but it is good for the Earth. When waiting for the water to warm up in the kitchen, fill the dog's bowl, fill up a jug of water to put in the refrigerator, water the plants, fill up your watering can. There's no reason to let that good water go down the drain. Make sure you turn off the faucet when you are brushing your teeth and when you do have the tap on, do you really need to have it open all the way? Instead of letting the water run while washing your face, fill the basin and use a washcloth. (I'm guilty of this one. Oh! That's what the stopper is for!) When in the shower, get in and get out. While you're at it, rethink how often you shower. Maybe a sponge bath will suffice on some days? When bathing children do you need to fill and empty the tub with each child? When my boys were young we dumped them all in the tub together. Saved time as well as water. Rethink your landscaping. Find plants that are suitable for your area. Do you really need to have the greenest grass on the block? Watering a field of grass that serves no purpose other than to look nice is a major waste of water. I'm always surprised when an area has a drought, that they have to ban lawn watering. I should think people could figure that out for themselves. As a sidebar to this, please reconsider the use of fertilizers to maintain your lawn. All those chemicals leach down into your water source.
Now here are some ideas that may have an "ick" factor or are a bit "out there" for some but can help conserve water. While waiting for the shower to get hot, put a bucket down to capture the water. You can use the water on your garden or to flush your toilet. Since we are on the subject of toilets, maybe if you are just making water (ahem!) it isn't necessary to flush. I warned you about the "ick" factor! If you are drinking enough water, your urine should be pretty clear anyway. Of course this idea works best if you live alone and have few visitors! Consider getting a rain barrel, but make sure it has a netting over the top so that it doesn't become a breeding ground for mosquitoes. I stretch a piece of cheesecloth over mine and secure it tightly with twine. Just becoming aware of your water waste will help you conserve.