1. Collect rain water with barrels, 5-gallon buckets, jars, and other containers. Even the smallest container will be able to water your starter plants. Also mulch around your plants in order to retain moisture (allows for less watering); and watering your plants in the morning or evening will reduce water evaporation.
2. Collecting water in larger containers (like rain barrels) will allow you to clean flower pots, trays or your dirty hands.
3. Take 3 to 5 minute showers. Instead of showering everyday, wash your body and face with a wet wash cloth. You could even put a bucket or small container in the bath tub as you shower. This will collect some if not most of the water coming from the shower head.
4. Instead of drinking water from the tap, collect water with (clean/sterile) bottles or mugs as it is raining. Drink the water immediately, and do not let it sit outside for too long. Boil the rain water (if you're reluctant). You can also do this in place of showering. My cousin Lisa swears that rain water makes your hair softer and much more vibrant.
5. If you eat raw vegan, you may notice a reduction in the amount of dish washing. Actually I use my blender to blend smoothies and drink out of, and I use a large bowl for my salads. I also have a ceramic skillet for cooking. Overall, I only use these utensils and do not wash dishes much. If you cook your food, you may find that you need to scrub longer or use more water to clean your skillets, pots, etc.
6. Also when washing dishes, save up any contained water for Keyhole gardening, or reuse water when soaking dirty dishes.
7. When brushing your teeth or washing your face, do not let the water run.
8. It is understandable to flush the toilet every time you defecate, but there's no need to flush every time you urinate. It's polite to flush outside of your home, but otherwise if you're drinking lots of water and eating high water content foods, you do not have harsh smelling urine! Actually, urinate outside or in a bucket to pour in compost (if possible).
9. Repair any leaks or make adjustments to kitchen/bathroom appliances.
10. Do not wash clothes regularly. Most often your clothes are not dirty enough to need washing. Actually I have two pair of pants, one for gardening and outdoors and one for going to the groceries/hanging with friends. My garden pants are worn over and over, usually at the end of the week I will wash them. Same for my dress pants, I re-wear them until they need it. Because I have little clothing and I do not have a full time job, I wash one load of clothes every other week!!
I understand that this may seem extreme, or dirty and perpetuates the dirty hippie stereotype. But I find that teaching others these practices will allow us to look passed our dependency on modern conveniences.
For other blog posts I have done on our consumption of water, please visit the links below: