INVESTIGATION - DRIPPING TAPS

This activity tries to encourage students to think very carefully about not wasting water. Dripping taps are often sources of great water wastage. The activity can be carried out within the school to see how effectively the school manages water and where it could make improvements.

First task: Using water in school

1. List all the different ways that your school uses water. E.g., showers, kitchens, wash basins, etc.

2. Now think of ways in which the school wastes water. E.g., toilets/urinals continually flushing, hot water taking a long time to come out of taps, etc.

Second task: The cost of water in schools

1. Find out how much it costs to supply water to your school. Ask to look at the most recent water bill and see how it is divided into water supply and waste disposal.

2. Is there any way of finding out how much water the school uses in a day? How much water is used every time someone flushes the toilet or washes their hands? [click here for a quick flush!]

1. Visit as many areas of your school where there are taps and record how many are dripping.
2. Now try to work out how many litres/pints of water are lost each year from these dripping taps. You could take one tap or do them all. The way you would approach this is very simple.

All you have to do is:

• collect the water from the dripping tap for just one hour.
• measure its volume using a measuring cylinder.
• now do some Maths and calculate how much water would collect in a year.

1. The students could brainstorm ideas on possible solutions to water wastage in schools.

• Dripping taps could be due to worn out washers. How much would it cost to replace the washers?
• Do special taps exist that are more efficient than other taps? Visit a plumbers merchant or DIY store and find out about self-closing taps. These are taps that you press to start the water flow and then they stop automatically after a few seconds.
• Which sort of taps does your school have?
• Which type of tap costs more? How much more?

2. Students can write up all possible solutions in the form of a report.

3. This could be presented to the School Council, Headteacher, Governors or a year group assembly with the recommendation that action will be taken.

You never know, your report may make a difference to water usage in your school.