The uses of potable water should be only for drinking, for cooking and for washing vegetables for ourselves and for our animals. Of course, we do not want to bathe or wash in contaminated water so we use potable water for this purpose; however, we should attempt to use less of it since it is becoming rarer as time and our use of it accelerates.
Potable water, simply explained, is safe drinking water. When it is naturally potable it will not need additional chemicals to destroy the disease-causing microbes. How can we recognize good water from contaminated water? We can't . Although if the water is from a naturally occurring spring that flows over gravel for a distance we can assume it is potable and safe to drink. These natural spring waters need to be certified if whole communities use them; otherwise we need to carry our own safe drinking water when in unfamiliar territories.
Once, people thought potable water and air were plentiful and it was their right to partake of these without cost or obligation. We still believe that and are looking forward to the time when we breathe easier because of less polluted air and our potable water supplies will not only look pristine but will be.
To reduce the potable use for other activities other than drinking, there are many effort going on that recycle waste water for laundry purposes, for car washing, for scrubbing walls and washing and for cleaning heavy duty work areas. Also using less water for showering and by reducing the amount of water for watering lawns will help when everyone does it.
Grasses and plants can be planted with vegetation that will grow in spite of less water. We need to stop and think how important water is and to value its use. An enormous amount is used because of our insistence on daily showers and never allowing a speck of dirt to land on us. Cleanliness is indeed next to holiness but it has been overdone. It's first priority is have the water and the food we consume meet this requirements even if that means we skip a day or two of bathing and shampooing.
Where fresh drinking water is concerned, everyplace is not equal. In countries such as the United States, having safe drinking is a fact most people take for granted; this is not so for every country. Where we have fluorides and other chemicals added to our water system to assure no disease causing microbes and other contaminants are in the water we drink, others are not this fortunate.
A large part of the African nations don't have access to safe drinking water. Consequently, they, and people the world over are prone to dysenteries and other gastrointestinal diseases because they don't have clean drinking water. Although having safe drinking does not assure one of being safe from disease if hand-washing and other hygienic methods are not observed. Microbes from toilet door knobs or from unsanitary practices do not mind that the water that carries them to your mouth and down their gullet is potable. In fact they probably prefer it. In that way they have less competition!