Drip Drip Leaves Us All Dry!

October 15, 2013

By Marilyn Wamukoya, Data Analyst

September 18, 2013

I am a researcher you see, I think differently. I will give you an example; most people walk into a bank, see a long queue in front of the counter and go “ohh shucks, there goes my lunch hour”. I walk into the same bank, see the same queue and immediately begin to work the turn-over rate per teller.

If it takes on average 5 minutes to serve a customer per teller, how long does it take me to get to the teller behind 20 people? Now adjust the equation for the six fumbly old men in the queue who will probably forget their signatures and compensate for slow looking teller at counter 6… adjust for slow body reactions caused by stifling afternoon heat…. You get my drift? We are just different. No use trying to understand us.

Knowing what you know about me now, it will not come as a complete surprise to you that when I walked into the ladies (I forgot to mention my gender – I am a lady) on the second floor of the Center, I found that the leaky tap near the door of the washroom was still dripping away. Now for the benefit of the women who don’t not use that washroom and (hopefully) all the men at the Center, this tap has been dripping away unfixed for weeks. Drip, drip, drip it goes; all day long, all night long.

Now most people encountering a drippy tap simply ignore it, go about their business in the washroom and walk out. Not me. Not by a long stretch! I am a researcher you see! I ran out of the washroom, bathroom businesses temporarily forgotten, and grabbed a calibrated measuring cup and a stop watch. You could be wondering at this point where a proper African lady could, at a moment’s notice, get a hold of a calibrated measuring cup and a stop watch. While I would love to answer your questions, I will ask, for the sake of not interrupting my story, that you file those questions away for another day.

Anyway, where were we? The cup and the stop clock! I ran back into the washroom, carefully placed the cup under the leaky tap and started my clock. See, I wanted to find out how much water was being lost by the leaky tap. The result? In 97 seconds, the tap has leaked 250 ml of water.  This is equivalent to 2.6 ml per second (154.6 ml per minute or 9,278.4 ml per hour or 222,680.4 ml per day).

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On to some money facts now; given that a 30 litre container of water retails at Kshs. 20, it would mean that this innocent looking tap is sending down the drain 149 shillings per day or about four thousand shillings every month.

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Evidence to action

Given the new meaning of 4,000 bob in these days of VAT increases, everyone from institutions to individual households, is moving to make savings wherever they can. But I am just a researcher, I provide evidence to policy makers for action. So here is the evidence, can we get some action?

Note: The leaky tap was fixed on the same day this piece was written.

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