If you pay for water, city water, then saving water IS saving money and a very good idea for the planet. Start with looking over your usage. For example if you use water to water your lawn, watering it in the evening so that the water has time to soak into the ground overnight in lieu of evaporating in the sunlight is a good idea. A slightly better idea would be to consider if you really need a lawn. If you live in the desert, it would save a lot of water to landscape accordingly. Look for plants native to the desert where you live. A desert landscape can be very pretty with colorful cacti. Even better is to consider something radical like a rock garden. It would be very serene and require no water at all. With the money you save you could buy an original outdoor sculpture which would boost the value of your house.
Things You Will Need
You will need to make an honest assessment of where the water goes. Each case would have good, better and best scenarios. No one but you can make the final decision. Maybe you like your homegrown tomatoes too much to give up the live garden for the sculpture garden. That's ok, look at some of your other water uses. For example, washing your car. Do you take it to a machine operated car wash? It may be fun and fast, and it uses a lot of water. Better choice would be to soap it up at a self car wash, and turn on the hose just to rinse it. Best of all would be to do the whole car with one bucket and a sponge.
Another commonly held belief is that the dishwasher wastes a lot of water. This myth is not always true. If you have an older dishwasher, and run it routinely when it is almost empty, you are wasting water. You would do better to rinse the dishes in the sink. If you have a lot of dishes though, the amount of water in a fully loaded in sink, in addition to rinse water, comes pretty close to the amount of water used in a newer high efficiency dishwasher. So wash without guilt if you have a big family.
Step 2Old fashioned clothes washers use lots of water and do not even get the clothes as clean as a high efficiency washer. You use less of the concentrated laundry detergent if you use the kind for a high efficiency clothes washer as well. Look for the HE symbol on the detergent. It won't hurt much to use HE accidentally in an older washer, it is not a good idea to use regular detergent in a new washer. You can gum up the works and ruin your investment. Don't be penny wise and pound foolish.
Step 3Which brings us to one of the most ubiquitous water controversies of all time: the bottled water scam. Unrelenting marketing aimed at consumers for the last 20 years has created a situation where even teenagers on crack will sooner reach for bottled water rather than drink out of the sink. The truth is, the plastic in those bottles is creating landfill faster than we can dispose of it. The water in bottles has been sitting around for who knows how long, and the water that flows freely out of urban sinks is potable, not stagnant.
If you are really worried about the water in your town, and you own house install a reverse osmosis system to further filtrate the water. If you don't own the house, you can still filter large amounts of water for all cooking and drinking needs with a Berkey water filter tank. It doesn't attach to your plumbing. You pour water into it, and it will filter anything, even rainwater from a puddle. If you don't have the money to invest in such a large item, then even a small Pur or Brita pitcher is cheaper than buying scads of bottled water week after week. Save money! One filter lasts about two months in a Brita pitcher.
In closing I say take a good look around at where and how you use water. Water will not be here forever, especially if we continue to abuse the ocean and rivers and lakes around us. Thinking what we dump downstream will not affect us, is very short sighted. Many American companies have turned to India and China for manufacturing because there are fewer laws regarding toxic waste disposal. Even when it is discovered the people are harmed, it's cheaper to pay people off in Chinese money than to pay off Americans. However, as the rivers run to the sea, this kind of thinking will come back to haunt us.
Tips & Warnings
Most anything you do that will save you water will at the same time save you money. For example, if you drain your swimming pool and let the kids use it to skateboard in, you will save on pool chemicals and all sorts of up keep. If you turn off the Jacuzzi and take showers instead you should see a drop in your heating bills. If you go total European and take sponge baths you will really save a lot. But don't skimp on places where you really need water. For example, humans need eight to ten cups of water a day. IF you are getting water delivered for drinking, may be that isn't something to give up. Getting dehydrated can give you headaches and other health problems.
Also, not bathing enough can spread germs. Recently my co-worker, an adult who is NOT pregnant got a staph infection. We didn't know she had it, because she didn't even know what it was. Oozing sores and a rash covered all her limbs and eventually it was even on her face. It is a highly contagious disease. Luckily I have been in the habit of washing my hands. Also I don't generally touch the same mail she sorts, I sort my own. I looked on the internet about what staph is, and learned that early on, for minor cases, the treatment is to wash it well and let it air out. Scratching spreads it.