Water Conservation on Dalhousie’s Studley Campus: An Audit of Dripping Faucets and Assessment of Attitudes Towards Water Waste
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This research project is made up of two components; the water audit component in which the volume of water wasted from dripping taps was assessed and the survey component in which the level of awareness and concern of the Dalhousie community towards water waste was assessed. In water audit component, the amount of water lost from each leaking public faucet was measured using a drip gauge and recorded. The location, aerator type, reason for potential dripping and faucet style for all of the faucets found in public kitchenettes and washrooms was also recorded. Analysis of these data revealed that a total of 81.5 L ± 45.5 L of water per day is lost through dripping faucets in the three buildings of interest with the majority of the water waste occurring in the Student Union Building. A positive correlation between aerator presence and lift-style handles a lower rate of dripping was identified. These results indicate the need to renovate the Student Union Building with new faucets to decrease the amount of water being wasted on campus. In selecting new faucets, motion sensor-operated and lift-style handles should be considered. In the survey component, 100 members of the Dalhousie community participated in an intercept survey with questions designed to assess their level of awareness and concern towards dripping faucets on campus. Analysis of the survey results revealed a very low level of awareness of dripping taps in the Dalhousie community. Among respondents with a high level of awareness, the majority also had a high level of concern towards dripping taps, but not high enough to motivate them to report the dripping faucets with mechanical problems. Non-student respondents (ie. building staff) and respondents associated with the Science faculty consistently showed a higher level of awareness and concern towards dripping taps. Over half of the Dalhousie community as represented in the survey respondents did not know whom to contact in order to report a dripping faucet. These results reveal the need for a campaign in the form of signs near public faucets to inform community members of the issue of water waste and whom they should contact to report a broken faucet. Finally, this research project illuminates the need for further research into water waste on Dalhousie’s Studley campus. Other parts of the water system such as toilets, urinals, water fountains, private kitchen faucet and connecting pipes need to be assessed for leaks. In addition, the influence of signs and awareness campaigns on Dalhousie community member’s awareness and concern towards water conservation issues needs to be researched in order to gain a better understanding of how sustainable actions can be encouraged. A water audit of greater scope together with research into the effectiveness of awareness campaigns will empower the Dalhousie community to reduce the amount of water wasted on campus.