Paying attention to our individual water consumption in our daily lives is part of the whole picture of being "green," though it is hard to gage how much we actually use there are ways to start at the top with the products we purchase as well as taking shorter showers (for example). Check out the Earthday Network wesite for some facts on water usage. There is amazing new technology out there for clothes washers, toilets, faucets and shower heads that have low flow options as well as load sensors. When purchasing a new washer and dryer there are two easy facts to consider; The WATER FACTOR and the MODIFIED ENERGY FACTOR.
The Water Factor (WF) measures the water usage per cycle in gallons per cubic foot of washer space... the lower the WF the more efficient the machine is.
The Modified Energy Factor (MEF) considers energy used by the machine as well as the water heater for each cycle and by the dryer to remove the remaining moisture...the higher the MEF is the more efficient the washer is.
Energy Star requires that the WF be less than 8 and the MEF be higher than 1.72... to find out what your washer is or to find info on a new washer you can find the product criteria on the Energy Star website. And to see a table of products with their WF and MEF listed you can check out the Wash Wise website.
Toilets are another water drain in the house and according to the U.S. EPA, a family of four could save more than 16,000 gallons of water per year simply by replacing a traditional toilet with a high-efficiency toilet. There is a leading Australian company called Caroma that has a dual flush system so you can use half the amount of water for a pee flush!