A little known fact for the people of Australia is that we use, per person, more water than almost any other developed nation. This isn't a big surprise, given the climate we live in. Unfortunately, there really isn't any reason at all why we should be using as much drinking water as we do for things like laundering our clothes or flushing our toilets. Over half of the water we consume or use on a daily basis isn't actually ingested. Instead it's used to bathe in, launder clothing, run through dishwashers, used to water the garden or, of course, flushed down the toilet.
There is no need to use clean, purified drinking water for these tasks! Why not harvest rainwater to use for these purposes? Many Australians already do this. Harvesting rainwater is possibly one of the most responsible and environmentally friendly acts that a family can invest in. It will save hundreds of dollars in water cost and is much less wasteful of our precious resources. If we all used rainwater for everything that didn't require drinking water, our nation's consumption of water would be cut in half.
The best and most efficient way to collect water is to have a rainwater tank installed on or near your home. Some systems make it possible to collect runoff from the roof or the ground. The water can then be diverted into the house and used for the washer and the toilets. Drinking water is a precious commodity, particularly here in Australia. Getting a rainwater tank sets a fabulous example for your family as well as your community.
This practice also serves farmers well. Livestock do not necessarily need to have the same quality water as people do. Depending on where your rainwater tank is set up, it may be possible to divert it to your livestock or use it to water your crops. Regardless of your needs as a consumer, harvesting rainwater is a wise choice. It is even possible to set up rainwater harvesting in such a way that you can use it for drinking. This largely depends on where you live and what kind of setup will work for your home but it's worth looking into as an option. If nothing else, even just using it for your toilets will save you money and keep our precious resources available for everyone.
Harvesting rainwater is a big step towards responsible consumerism. Don't wait, get started now.