Water is a precious resource. Here in the desert of California wells are drying up. The first house I bought was located in a remote canyon. For eight years the prior owners had lived there without neighbors. My husband at the time had an eye for real estate. He could think of nothing he wanted more than to own half of Lebec, California, unless it was to own all of Lebec. He bought up land and encouraged building, to a point of having his own well go dry a couple of years after I left him. He buys water now for all his needs.

Things You Will Need

To conserve water you will need to have patience, and a willing heart. No one is going to make you do anything. If you want to take showers that last hours long, the water police aren't going to come get you. No one will know if you run three loads of laundry a day. No one but you. When you think of all the people in the world struggling to get this precious commodity, do you really want to gain at their detriment? Why not do what you can to preserve the water table, for yourself and your children and your children's children?

Step 1

Be mindful of your water usage. Leaving the sink running or letting a leak go, or having a toilet that will not stop running are all water wasters. Even a child can take a shower military style: wet, turn off the water, soap up, turn it on again just to rinse. Put an egg timer in the bathroom so you know when 5 minutes is up. If you have small children, pick a song that is 5 minutes or less so they can get used to imagining how long 5 minutes is. Take a shower with a pal, it's friendlier than you think.

In the kitchen if you are running water in order to get it to hot to wash dishes consider installing an instant hot water tap. You will end up using less water, and on a side note, you may find you don't need the microwave any more. If you wash a lot of dishes a high efficiency dish washer model may end up using less water than washing everything by hand. If you own your own home consider having the grey water drain to water your lawn.

Step 2

Recycle and reuse every bit of water you can think of. You can create a simple catch basin system on your roof and use rainwater to water your garden and lawn, or to water your pets. If you put the water through a Berkey system water purifier it will be safe for you and your family to drink. Another method of purifying water is to put it into clean clear plastic bottles and lay it on a piece of metal in the sun for over 6 hours. The heat will kill any bacteria in the water making it safe to drink. This economical method is used in Africa to make safe drinking water. After the water is sterilized don't open the bottle until you are ready to drink it. Glass does not work as well for this project as the regular bottles water usually comes in. PET plastic is the best. Do not disturb the bottles while the sun is warming them.

Step 3

Purchase a high efficiency clothes washer that will use less water and consider letting the laundry water drain onto your lawn to water your plants. Use biodegradable laundry soap. If you live in an area where it is allowed, consider drying your clothes on a line. You can cut down on your utilities bill by using less electricity.

Step 4

Wash your car with one bucket of water instead of spraying the hose all over. Do it the same way you take a military shower: wet it, soap it up, rinse it with a wet rag. Do this at twilight to avoid having the sun bake the soap right onto the car. Consider collecting water from your last shower to use to wash the car.

Step 5

Think about ways you can give up using water altogether. For example in lieu of having a lawn, landscape with desert plants that do not require a lot of water. Or make a Japanese style rock garden, or put in a deck for barbecuing. A shed or another garage may be more useful than a lawn and may even make the value of your home go up. If you like the idea of plants, consider a green house. The individual flowers and vegetables would require less water than a whole lawn.

Step 6

Drain your swimming pool and turn it into a skate rink for skateboarders. Better yet, fill it in and do something else with the area. Standing water attracts mosquitoes and flies. Fountains and ponds and other purely decorative uses of water can certainly be replaced with wind sculptures and other types of art.
Saving water is something we should all take seriously. In the small town where I live the water company lowered the minimum limit for water usage so that essentially everyone's bill went up as they continued with their regular water habits. This was kind of sneaky and created quite an uproar with the local residents. However, in a cycle or two, it will force people to cut back on their water consumption. If we don't cut back during these dry seasons there may not be enough water to sustain the community in a couple of years.

There are plans for three large new developments to be built in my area. These developments are planned by individuals who have very personal goals about making money. They plan to sell the real estate for a maximum profit and leave the area. They have no personal stake in the amount of water that gets used, and no real interest in the environmental impact. If you think the local government is going to protect us, think again. Basically the county is eying the possibly new revenue from property taxes as a good thing for schools and roads. Never mind that the school is already over crowded and the entrance ramp to the freeway only so big. . . .If you don't take an interest in your local politics, no one else will. You will simply wake up one morning to a water bill that is triple or quadruple what you used to pay, based on the reality that there isn't enough water to go around.

Our local residents have shown up full force at meeting after meeting to block the projects. I advise you to do the same in your community, unless there really is enough water to go around.

Tips & Warnings

Consider twice the bottled water syndrome, it may be trendy but those little plastic bottles are making an awful lot of landfill.