Waves of change: An analysis of the systematic and behavioural problems regarding dripping faucets on Dalhousie University’s Sexton campus
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Fresh water is becoming more and more scarce throughout the world. Though Canada is blessed with an abundance of it, more efforts for water conservation are necessary and universities have the opportunity to lead the way. A water audit is an important first step to conservation because it addresses the systematic problem of finding out where the leaks are occurring and can put a quantitative value on the amount of water being wasted. Intercept surveys are a useful purposive sampling technique because they all allow the surveyor to choose exactly who completes the survey. When a qualitative technique like a survey and a quantitative technique like a water audit can achieve the same results or strengthen each other’s argument, decision makers are much more likely to take heed to the findings. This paper uses a water audit do answer the question of how many litres of water are being wasted due to dripping taps on Dalhousie University’s Sexton campus and where the major problem areas are. The intercept survey attempts to answer the question of whether there are behavioural issues by students, staff, and faculty on Sexton campus that are inhibiting water conservation efforts. The water audit was conducted and the model and flow rate of the aerator was noted as well as how much water was being wasted per year due to drips using a drip gauge container. An intercept survey was given to people on Sexton campus on different days to ensure randomness. The major findings of the paper are that MacDonald B building contributes over half of the total wasted water and that faucets without aerators are much more likely to drip. The findings from the survey show that most people will turn off the tap but if there is a mechanical drip, 61% of respondents do not know whom to talk to about this. Also, 72% of respondents state that more education and awareness (such as signs) is necessary on Sexton campus. In light of these results, we recommend to decision makers to address MacDonald B building by getting rid of all faucets without aerators and replace them with low-flow faucets. Also, since mechanical drips or more of a problem than behavioural drips, there needs to be a sign in the washroom telling people whom to talk to if there is a drip. Further research must be done on how effective these signs are and the toilets, urinals, and water fountains must be audited on Sexton campus as well.