Each American uses an average of 120 gallons of water a day for his personal use -- that is for cooking, cleaning, and watering the garden. This figure might range widely from one individual to another and on a day-to-day basis. But it shows clearly that even a small improvement in personal water-use efficiency would result in dramatic savings nationwide. Some suggestions are these: Don't wash dishes in running water as this can easily use 30 gallons compared with 5 or less using standing water. Wash only full loads in an automatic dishwasher.
In the laundry wash with full loads or else set the load indicator to reduce the water level. If only one or two items are involved, try washing by hand.
Take brief showers. More than 3 minutes falls under the heading of recreation. Install energy-saving shower heads, preferably one with an on-off ``soap up'' switch.
Never shave under a running faucet (5 to 7 gallons a minute) when a bowl or even a cupful of water will do.
Never use the toilet to dispose of a cleansing tissue or other extraneous waste. Install toilet dams. They save up to 2 gallons a flush.
Do not use a kitchen sink disposal that grinds up food wastes and peelings so they can be washed down the drain. This requires steadily running water to operate when the waste can easily be thrown out with the garbage or composted for use in the garden.
Keep a bottle of cold drinking water in the refrigerator. Running water to make it cold every time you want a drink wastes gallons. While running the water to get it hot, collect the cooler water to use on your house plants or to clean your teeth. Just don't waste it.
Be sure your faucets don't leak. A steady drip amounts to about 25 gallons a day.
Periodically add food coloring to your toilet tank just as you go to bed. Check first thing next morning. If any food coloring is in the bowl, it indicates a slow leak that could be wasting many gallons a day.
Use a bucket and sponge to wash your car.
Sweep the driveway. Hosing it down is rarely necessary.
In the drier regions of the country plan your garden around native plants that are adapted to a water-short climate. Water the garden in the evening so there is less loss to evaporation. Mulching is another good water-saving technique for the garden.