Most people are making a bigger effort to 'go green' these days, including reducing garbage, saving energy, and conserving water. Collectively as a society, we use these resources both in large scale manufacturing as well as daily in our homes. While larger scale changes will help make a large difference in our water consumption, we have the most immediate control over what we do in our own homes.

In many parts of the world, water is a precious resource that must be carried over long distances. Drought or flooding can affect the amount of water in a given area; however, practicing water conservation is an important practice whether you live in a desert or in rain intense environment. Even transporting water from the source to your faucet requires energy and can increase you environmental footprint. Here are 40 ways that you can conserve water.

1. Make sure your faucet is turned off completely – a dripping faucet can waste a significant amount of water.

2. Reuse water – Before you put water down the drain, consider what other uses that water could be used for (i.e. watering plants, soaking a shirt or dirty dish, cleaning).

3. Check that your home does not have any water leaks – turn off all the water in your house, check your water meter once and then again 2 hours later and note any change which could indicate a water leak.

4. Use water efficient appliances – there are many incentive programs available to encourage you to put in water efficient appliances. Most modern toilets, washers, showers, and dishwashers are all be designed to use a smaller amount of water than they used to.

5. Flush the toilet only when necessary – don't flush every time you need to get rid of a bug or other small item. Also check your toilet for leaks by putting food coloring to the tank and check to see if any has leaked into the bowl. You can also put an object such as a brick in the tank of your toilet so it takes less water to fill the tank and you use less water on each flush.

6. Take shorter showers – a shower may feel good, but you are wasting water when you remain in the shower for an excessive amount of time.

7. Turn off the water when you are not using it – this includes when you are brushing your teeth. You can even turn off the water when you are washing your hair.

8. Set the washing machine on the correct size setting when washing clothes

9. When washing dishes, fill up a small container with soapy water and use this water for all your dishes. You can then rinse using as little water as possible.

10. Take a bath as a special occasion and use only the water you need.

11. Avoid sink disposals and opt for a compost system.

12. Water your yard and gardens during the beginning and end of the day when it is cooler and less evaporation will occur. You don't need to water every day. Watch your yard and water only every few days.

13. Talk about water conservation with you family, friends, etc. Many people are simply not aware of the importance of conserving water.

14. Refrigerators, AC units, and ice makers use water as coolant – upgrade old units for newer more efficient appliances.

15. Make sure your sprinkler is watering what you want and not the sidewalk or driveway.

16. Keep cold water in the fridge to avoid running the tap to cool your water every time you want a drink.

17. Think about the places you frequent and determine their water practices. A golf course in the desert is most likely not doing their part for water conservation. Plan your golfing trip to somewhere that can support a large expanse of grass.

18. Install an underground watering system in your ward to reduce evaporation.

19. Increase the length of your lawn mower blade – longer grass does not dry out as quickly.

20. Mulch your gardens to keep in moisture

21. Choose plants that are appropriate for your climate

22. Choose to mulch or put in a low water needs garden over a large yard that requires lots of water.

23. Use a broom instead of water to wash your driveway or walkway.

24. Turn off your hose when not in use to avoid leaks.

25. Use a low wash car wash when possible, or use a minimal amount of water when cleaning your car.

26. Install only recycled water fountains, ponds, etc.

27. If you have a pool, choose a water-saving pool filter. Put a cover on your pool when not in use

28. Avoid the use of water toys that use a constant flow of water such as a slip and slide.

29. Visit stores and businesses that promote water conservation

30. Wash fruits and veggies in a bowl instead of a constant stream of water.

31. Join a group or support a group that works for water conservation in your area.

32. Collect water from your roof to use in your garden.

33. Use your microwave to thaw food instead of running water over it in the sink.

34. Avoid self timing water systems, or turn it off when it rains.

35. Soak dishes before you wash them to decrease the water usage and help conserve.

36. Wash your pets in the yard where it needs watering anyway.

37. Use faucet aerators to reduce water in your sinks while maintaining a good flow.

38. Tree in your yard can provide shade during the hot sun in the middle of the day and the leaf fall can serve as mulch and hold in moisture.

39. If you live in a water poor region and you feel the need to have a huge green yard – move.

40. Know where your water comes from, how much you are using, and where you are using water. Think about it! Every time you use water think about water conservation and what you can do to decrease your use of this natural resource.

Water is an important natural resource. Choosing to conserve water means you are considering to impact on the larger world. Learning to appreciate the resources we often take for granted is one step toward better balance between humans and the natural environment. This balance will help maintain the present water cycle.