What is the real minimum of daily water needed to lead a normal life?

My neighbor, Louise Pape, inspires me and many others with all she has accomplished in her life.  But one of the most exciting experiments she tried was to see how little water she could use and still lead a normal life (without neighbors avoiding you because of your odor).  Louise was profiled in National Geographic in 2010 for what many people might find impossible, using 10 gallons a day.  She provides a great description of her experience plus handy guidance on food preparation and dishes, laundry, cleaning our bodies and homes and flushing waste way — you can do experiment too by clicking on the link to https://www.tengallonsaday.org/

I am reminded of the twisted incentives for not saving water in cities that ask residents to conserve water but still allow unsustainable construction.  People I trust have told me we shouldn’t save water but instead should pull our hoses out to the nearest arroyo and dry river and turn them on full blast.  After all, are we being fooled if we conserve water while our rivers are dry and unsustainable construction continues?

Please don’t get me wrong…. I believe water conservation makes sense.  But I want some if not all the water I conserve to go towards a dry river bed.  So I’m grateful that cities like Santa Fe have taken steps to dedicate water by law to the river in late February 2012  (see these links about the City of Santa Fe policy – Santa Fe Watershed Association Living River page and Staci Matlock’s article for the New Mexican   Promoting policies for conserving water makes the most sense for people when some water gets dedicated to environmental flows for local rivers.