Modern appliances use a lot of water, eg dishwashers and washing machines. Also, people use vast quantities of water to clean cars and to water gardens. Water conservation involves using less water. There are many measures people can take in order to achieve this. Dual-flush toilets require less water every flush and modern appliances are designed with water conservation in mind. Water companies can install water meters to measure the amount of water that households use and charge them accordingly. This encourages people to use less. At a national level, water companies try to conserve water by fixing leaking pipes.
Groundwater is under increasing threat from over-abstraction and pollution. Substances such as nitrates enter aquifers as a result of farming. Mining and fracking have also been linked to the pollution of groundwater.
In the UK, the government has designated safeguard and protection zones, where any developments are carefully planned and managed. This involves mapping the flow of groundwater supplies and soil and rock types. Response measures are in place to clean up any pollution that arises.
Grey water is water that is not pure. It has either been used previously or it is untreated rainwater. The idea behind using grey water is that some uses of water do not require water that has been purified. An example of this is flushing toilets. Some companies now use rainwater to flush the toilets in their offices. Collecting rainwater is called rainwater harvesting. Households can harvest rainwater in water butts and use it to water gardens.