I’m a grandmother who has lived in New Mexico over 40 years and California before that, so I have been through water shortages.
The water department insert didn’t do a very good job of telling people how to conserve water.
First, don’t put your pasta water on plants unless you cook it without salt! But, you can cook pasta with very little water, with instructions online, of course.
Water used to boil eggs is fine on plants as is leftover tea (black), diet soda and melted ice. Don’t use anything with sugar; it just draws ants.
Most of these types of water I use on outdoor plants.
Emptying the dog bowl or freshening up your glass of water? It’s good for a plant.
I keep a pitcher I got at the dollar store on my kitchen counter to collect water. Running water to get hot? Run it into the pitcher.
Do you need to shower daily? Perhaps not.
What did you do today? Got up, showered, helped kids with school work, went to the market, cooked and cleaned.
George Carlin has a great bit on body parts to wash: Two above the waist and two below, to which I would add feet for some people. Just run hot water in your bathroom sink, collecting the water it takes for hot to show up, and get a washcloth and bar of soap.
Your skin will be happy to keep its natural oil.
Do you need to wash your hair daily? Unless you get it really dirty or smelly, no. It too will appreciate keeping its natural oil.
Remember, the more product (soap) you put on your body or in your hair, the more you have to rinse out. It really doesn’t take a lot to get you clean.
Stop rinsing dishes! Scrape them off into the trash.
Washing dishes by hand? Fill the dishpan with hot soapy water and put the silverware in the bottom.
Wash the cleanest things first, usually glasses, then continue to wash, putting the still-soapy dishes in the sink next to the dishpan. When you are all done washing, rinse everything at once.
Take the dishes out of the sink to drain, and then flip on the garbage disposal as you dump out the dishpan. You can also run the garbage disposal while you rinse cleanser out of your sink.
A plumber once told me about a customer of his who let his bathtub fill as he showered and then used that water to flush his toilet during the day. I haven’t tried that, but do follow the flush-less-often teaching.
Don’t fill the hummingbird feeder full, but change it often. Put a little water out for the birds. Be sure your dog has water.
Right now, we have been blessed with a bit of rain, but it might be the only moisture we get for a long while. Try your best.
Letter to the Observer: Rio Rancho grandma has water-saving tips