1) wasting water puts a strain on the water treatment facilities, overloading them can cause contaminated water to seep into the groundwater contaminating the groundwater. This doesn't just apply to flushing the toilet too much. In most homes all water leaves through the same pipe, so the clean water you wasted waiting on water to get hot also overloads the septic system.
2) Water used must be treated before it's released back into circulation. If we use it faster than it rains back down, we can run out of water. Where I live we have plenty of water, yet during the summer there is often a ban on watering lawns as this depletes our water supply. In the winter when no one waters lawns or fills pools, we don't seem to have much of a problem.
3) Wasting water wastes power and other resources too, water comes into your home via some kind of pump, usually electric, and leaves the same way. The water treatment facility has to use power too in order to make the water safe again. Saving water saves these other resources as well. So even in a community during a time when water is plentiful, wasting water is not acceptable.
Some of these tips are easy, and some not, if you adopt just a few new water conserving habits, you'll be doing better than before. The more you adopt will depend on where you live and your level of motivation but every drop helps.
In the kitchen
- Washing dishes by hand uses more water than using a dishwasher
- Energy star dishwashers use less water than non-energy star
- Most newer dishwashers don't require rinsing of dishes before hand, just scrape off food using a food scraper before loading.
- when running water to get it hot for dish washing, fill your watering cans, the water pitcher for the fridge, the tea kettle and the pet's water dish.
- Defrost food in the refrigerator, when that isn't possible use a bowl of warm water but avoid using running hot water for this purpose.
- use one glass a day to drink from and teach your kids the same, to cut down on how many you need to wash.
- If you drop an ice cube my mistake, put it into a house plant for it to melt, instead of throwing in the sink.
- Use a food scraper before washing pots and pans instead of running water to loosen stuck on food.
- turn off water when scrubbing pots
- Never use the toilet as a trash can
- Take shorter showers
- Showers use less water than baths
- Don't run the water while you brush teeth
- Spray the bathtub before you shower, if you must run water until it gets hot, use that water to wash the tub.
- Do the same thing if you need to run sink water until it gets hot for any reason, wash the sink with the "wasted" water.
- Consider a low-flow shower head
- consider a dual-flush or low flow toilet
- to check for a leak, put food coloring in the toilet tank, if you don't flush and see that color in the bowl you have a leak
- turn off the water when brushing teeth and lathering up your hands
- Use a timer and teach your kids to take shorter showers
- Front loading washers clean better than top loading washers and most use less water per load, but they only have one setting for a full load, run them full.
- Consider an energy star washer
- if you simply use less detergent there is little to no need to double rinse
- Consider a grey water recycling system, this would use water from the sinks and shower to flush the toilet and water the lawn.
- look for and fix leaks and dripping faucets
- Fish tank water should sit for 24 hours to allow chlorine to evaporate, fill buckets for this purpose when running water to let it get hot.
- teach your kids o save water
- Consider planting food instead of grass
- Choose drought friendly plants
- Install a proper irrigation system with a rain or moisture shut off sensor
- When you clean the fish tank use that nutrient rich water on flowers, but not edible plants (fish poop -yuk)
- consider landscaping that is drought friendly, IE bridges, wood chips, wishing wells, sculptures to minimize need for water in areas where water is scarce.
- use recycled greywater to water the lawn, this will force you into eco-friendly soaps and detergents too.
- Use a spigot to shut the water off when washing your car