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A Rant: Turn off the dripping taps

November 2, 2009

If there’s one thing that really gets under my skin- besides poor sentence structure/grammar/spelling- it is the number of dripping taps that I see all over the place.

People don’t know how to turn off a tap. It must come down to that. Sometimes it feels as though I go to university just so that I’ll enter the bathroom and turn off all of the taps that are dripping little beads of water into the sink. Plunk… plunk… plunk… I don’t understand why it is so difficult for a person to give the taps a really firm twist to ensure that no water will be trickling through. But apparently it is really difficult. And it makes me angry.

I can’t remember the last time I walked into one of the bathrooms at the university and I didn’t see at least one tap dripping. Usually there are three or four taps dripping water. Sometimes its worse and every single tap has little water beads plunking into the sink. So I go around and turn off all the taps really firmly, growling in frustration.

The World Health Organization says that “In 2002, 1.1 billion people lacked access to improved water sources, which represented 17% of the global population.”

Go back and read that sentence one more time. Please and thank you. Here, I’ll help you:

“In 2002, 1.1 billion people lacked access to improved water sources, which represented 17% of the global population.”

We don’t think about that on a regular basis. We don’t think about it because we don’t need to think about it. It doesn’t cross our minds because we take water for granted. In reality, having access to water is a privilege. We are abusing that privilege to a disgusting extent.

drinkwatThere is too much colour in this map.

Maybe the reason why the taps are dripping at my university is because people are not aware that they are failing to turn off the taps properly. But that is no excuse. In court, you can’t use ignorance as part of your defense if you’ve committed a crime. We shouldn’t be getting away with letting taps drip, either. Because to let it go to waste is a crime.

We know that going for a ten-minute walk every day doesn’t hinder our day at all but over time, it adds up to vastly improve our health and well being. We know that reducing our intake of cookies from two a day to one a day can make a difference in weight management over the course of a long period of time. Water works the same way: one measly dripping tap doesn’t seem like much, but if it’s left to drip all day long, and if half of the taps in the university are similarly drippy, it really adds up. It’s an enormous amount of waste just because some people can’t be bothered to turn a tap firm enough.

Save the water and turn off taps properly. Even if you think that you’ve turned it off completely, give it an extra little twist to make sure you’re right. It’ll take all of half a second but you might save plenty of water in the meantime. There’s no reason why the taps should be left to drip.

There’s other ways we can prevent needless waste of water too: turn off the taps when you not using them! If you’re brushing your teeth, don’t leave the tap running the whole time. Only turn it on when it’s necessary. Turn on the water right when you’re about to take a shower; don’t turn it on and then wander off to find a towel or check your email. This is needless water waste.

Water deserves our respect. Just because we can let it go to waste, because of our easy access to it, does not mean that we should let it go to waste. Spread the word and show you care. Water is a truly precious treasure and commodity.

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16 comments

  1. Im so like you in this one.
    Last night I got home and the babysitter was “letting” the Child play in the sink.
    Just running and running the water.
    My husband looked at me TERRIFIED I was going to lecture her :)
    I didnt.
    but I may not hire her again…


  2. When I lived in Europe, things like lights, and faucets were often on timers, taking the turn off out of our thoughtless hands!

    Living on the third floor of the hotel, I would run up the stairs at night, but never made it to my room before everything went dark lol!

    I support your message, of course, and have often turned off running water that is left on. Really, if we can’t as a species do simple things like that, how can we expect to solve anything?


  3. Oh my gosh you took the words right out of my mouth. I scringe when I see a dripping tap. I have even told managers at business’ about their dripping tap, and I’m sure they could care less. I also cringe when I am around a person doing dishes and they keep the water running for about ten minutes straight. Sometimes I Just want to scream!!


  4. I’ll admit that I leave the water running when I shouldn’t. It’s just a bad habit I guess. I’ll try to turn it off more often :).


  5. Wonderful topic, Sagan! Having just traveled through major agricultural areas and seeing firsthand the critical need for water, I’m more committed than ever to watching my water usage.

    My big pet peeve with regards to water is people in my neighborhood who have automatic sprinklers without water gauges. I’ve actually seen them running WHILE it’s raining outside! AIGHHH!


  6. I couldn’t agree more – thank you for bringing this to our attention. My bad habit: I’m an inefficient dishwasher. I need to get better at filling the sink, instead of just lazily watching the dishes while the tap is running. Very wasteful.


  7. MizFit- I support your decision ;)

    Dr. J- I like the idea of the timers. That’s clever.

    Gina- I cringe at those things too. I think it’s important, though, to BE vocal about it. Not necessarily in a screaming fashion, but to remind ourselves and others that it MATTERS if we keep the tap running needlessly.

    Tony- Please do!

    Cammy- AIGHHHH indeed.

    Monica- It’s super to recognize where we’re inefficient/wasteful and to make changes from there!


  8. I am cracking up! The dripping taps drive me nuts, too, as does leaving the water running when brushing your teeth. Oh, and while we’re speaking of water and faucets – why are the sink areas in public bathrooms always drenched in water? People are just lazy, I think.


  9. “Water deserves our respect.”

    WOW. I’ve never thought that before. But you are totally right.


  10. sometimes people in my gym locker room will leave the shower running. Actually full-force running. Is it that hard to turn it off? Besides, how do you get dry?!


  11. Canadians are thenumber one water wasters in the world (with the highest amount of available fresh water in the world, I might add), followed closely by the americans.

    And MizFit, you should tell the babysitter. It probably didn’t occur to her that it was a problem. Awareness is key.


  12. amen! i’ve been trying to get better myself (not necessarily with dripping taps, but minimizing the time i just let it run w/o doing anything!


  13. FatFighterTV- it’s such a pain.

    Mary- something to think about!

    KefirGirl- today one of the sinks in the bathroom was full-force running too. I cursed pretty loudly at that.

    Westwood- shame on Canada!

    Shannon- we can always do a little bit more to improve, you’re right.


  14. This has always been a pet peeve of mine! Can’t stand the sound of a tap dripping! Unfortunately, the mineral content of our well water is very hard on our plumbing, and I am finding (yet again!) that I am going to have to replace the kitchen faucet soon. It refuses to shut off properly.

    My mother was ahead of her time – she was constantly reminding us how wasteful it was to let the water run while brushing our teeth, etc. Of course, I think that stems from her years of having to haul water from the well to the house! A lot of people who lived without indoor plumbing knew the value of water, and never wasted a drop.


  15. It is not just the fresh water aspect. Every drop that goes down the drain, ends up in a treatment plant. We spend tax money and resources to deliver the water to homes, then we have to spend tax money and resources to treat the waste water before it can be release to the rivers and oceans. Think of all the pollution you are contributing to when you let a tap drip — extra chemicals (that have to be manufactured) and extra electricity to treat the waste water. That drop of water is contribruting to a higher waste stream than just a drop down the drain.


  16. we are using plastic kitchen faucets at home because they are very cheap and you can easily replace them if they broke ‘-~



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