One of the best things about living in the age that we do is the simple joy of indoor plumbing. Most people take for granted the fact that they can turn on the tap and have clean water come out. Since it is available, and easy to use, we all find our daily lives need it. But it does come with a price tag. The more water you use, the more you are charged (most water service providers charge the lowest rate for the first 3 units of water, if you go over that, you get charged more per unit). There are ways to lower your water bill, and it does not take much sacrifice to do so.
No matter where you live there are certain plants that have become adapted to the environment. Almost every climate on earth has trees, flowers, shrubs, and a form of grass. These plants are well adapted to the amount of rainfall that naturally falls in the area. If you are just building a house, remodeling, or looking for a change, consider xeriscaping your yard. By using local native plants you will have to do minimal watering if any at all. For those plants that do need a little extra during the hot dry spells of summer, install drip lines. You will water just the plant, and will not lose as much to evaporation.
One thing that has become more prevalent in recent years is our desire to be clean. While showering every other day is in no way bad hygiene, most people find it a good start to the day to clean themselves up. If you cannot make it a day without taking a shower, aim for taking shorter showers. Less time spent in the shower (try for 3 minute showers) and you will not only save water, but also electricity (for the fan and lights) and gas (for heating the water). Whatever you do, avoid taking a bath. Showers are always more economical.
Use the Dishwasher
Do you hate getting your hands greasy when it comes time for dishes? Well the best way to save water is to use your dishwasher. You can keep yourself clean, save time, and get your dishes cleaner than washing them by hand. If you make sure to load your dishwasher completely (do not overfill, that could cause your dishes to be blocked and not get clean) you will use less water than if you were to wash dishes by hand. Remember, this only works if you have a relatively new dishwasher. Older machines waste a lot of water.
Install Low Flow Fixtures
Any showerhead manufactured after 1992 must use a maximum of 2.5 gallons per minute. If you have older fixtures, yours could be dumping 5.5 gallons per minute. For as little as $10 and about 20 minutes of work you can update your shower to use minimal water. Toilets, on the other hand, are a little harder to install, but will save you more water. A toilet from before 1982 will use between 5 and 7 gallons per flush, whereas a modern equivalent uses only 1.6 gallons.
Turn Off the Water
I am always surprised by those who just let the water run while they brush their teeth, comb their hair, or do other bathroom activities. It is easy to turn the tap off while brushing, and you can save yourself several gallons of water per day. If you want to take it to extremes, turn the shower off between lathering and rinsing. You could save a few more gallons by only having the water running for about a minute during the whole shower.
Saving water isn’t just better on your wallet, it is also easier on the environment. If everyone went to extremes to save water, there would never be any water shortages. More water available means that the price will not climb as rapidly. So by saving water now, you are helping to save money later. If nothing else, conserving natural resources is always a good idea.