First of all, where does my water come from?
The two major sources of drinking water are surface water (rivers, lakes, reservoirs, and the like) and groundwater (underground deposits of water called "aquifers," into which wells are drilled). In either case, your water utility collects, treats, stores, and delivers the finished product (drinking water) to your tap through an underground system of pressurized pipes. Your local water supplier will be glad to tell you specifically where your water comes from (see Understanding The Monomoy Lens). link this
How much water do I use in a day?
The average person uses about 100 gallons a day. It varies of course with individual water-use habits. About half a gallon is for drinking and cooking, the rest is for showers, baths, flushing the toilet, doing dishes and laundry, washing the car, watering the lawn, and giving your pet a bath, and so forth.
What does that water cost me, and why do my water rates go up even when I'm asked to conserve water?
The cost varies around the country, but a reasonable average is about 5 gallons for a penny. Compare that to the cost of other beverages your by, and you'll see what a bargain tap water is. Plus, your tap water is delivered. About the second part of your question, consumers are often disappointed when they are good citizens and conserve water during times of shortage only to have their water rates increase. The reason this happens is that the water supplier has fixed costs - salaries, mortgage on the treatment plant, etc., that must be paid no matter how much water is produced.
I hear so much about water shortages. Is there enough water to go around?
Globally, yes; individually, maybe not. Theoretically, there is enough water on the earth to satisfy the needs of the entire population of the world. But, if you live in a real dry area, say the Mojave Desert, you may have trouble having your needs met. So the problem is not quantity, it's distribution. Beyond the obvious problems in the great deserts, periodic dry spells hit highly populated areas with some regularity, causing temporary water shortages with all associated inconveniences and problems.
Water, though relatively inexpensive, shouldn't be wasted. For instance, a drip from a faucet each second adds up to almost 3,000 gallons lost per year.