How bad is a leaky faucet?

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Metro Manila (CNN Philippines) — A dripping faucet isn't really a big deal for most people.

It's easy to fix: a matter of replacing a worn seal or even the entire faucet.

Besides, there isn't that much water that gets wasted, right?

Actually, a broken faucet can drip enough water in a day to make 20 bowls of instant noodles.

Bowls of noodles like the ones Benjie Abad or "Mang Urot" gives every week to homeless people and street children in West Triangle in Quezon City through his charity group "Karinderia ni Mang Urot."

Abad said he was compelled to feed the needy when in 2012, he saw two children eating chicken near a dumpster as he was walking down Quezon Avenue.

"Naisip ko na hindi dapat kumakain ng galing sa basurahan ang isang kapwa-tao," he said. "So 'yunnag-decide ako to act."

[Translation: I thought to myself that no person should eat food from a dumpster. So I decided to act.]

"Karinderia ni Mang Urot" feeds 40 to 100 people every Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Abad said they are like a family now, where it doesn't matter whether or not one has money.

"Yung mga supposedly outcast, nafe-feel nila ngayon na merong nag-aasikaso at nagmamahal sa kanila," he said.

[Translation: Those who think of themselves as outcasts feel that they now have someone who loves and cares for them.]

Abad said there really isn't anything notable about what he does.

"Normal lang pag may nagugutompakaininkahit sinasabi ng iba na "You are a hero" [It's only normal that when somebody’s hungry, he or she must be fed, even if others say "You are a hero"]," he said.

"Feeding the hungry is not heroism," he added. "I made a pledge to my God to feed the hungry until the day I die."

Life-saving buckets

Of course, water isn't just for preparing food.

If you put a bucket under that leaking faucet for a day, there would actually be enough water to sustain the daily drinking needs of five people.

Potable water is one of the most vital resources during calamities. If people resort to drinking dirty water, they could die from serious gastrointestinal diseases.

To address this issue, members of Mu Sigma Phi, a fraternity of medical students from the University of the Philippines Manila, set up Project H2O (which stands for "Help 2 Others") to provide portable water-filtration systems to communities in need.

Project H2O’s Head, Earnest Dela Cruz, told CNN Philippines' Real Talk in April 2016 that the initiative started in 2013 following the deadly 7.2-magnitude earthquake in Bohol.

"What our alumni found was that bottled water is a typical response and when you do that, it's very difficult to transport and afterwards, there is  a lot of clutter, which is environmentally damaging," he said.

"So we thought, there could be innovative ways on how to manage that," he added. "That's why we created a portable water-filtration device, which can convert dirty water into clean drinking water."

The device is essentially a large plastic bucket with a hole at the bottom, where a hose with a special filter is inserted.

"It's a 0.1-micron filter, similar to those filters used in dialysis machines," Mu Sigma Phi Service Community Chair, Lorenzo De Guzman, told Real Talk. "It doesn't need any source of power. It can actually be used by up to 11 families."

Dela Cruz said the filter is effective because most bacteria are 0.3 microns big. He added that with proper maintenance, the filter could last up to seven years.

Dela Cruz also said they give the units out for free to communities that need it.

"For example, in Typhoon Yolanda, we went there and gave the buckets there so that people could use the floodwater," he said.

Dela Cruz said the project now caters to far-flung communities that do not have access to clean water.

"If they reach out to us, we get their statistics." he said. "Is their illness solvable by Project H2O? And if yes, we get how many families are there in the community. So we provide this quantity of units."

He added that they monitor how the units are used together with government officials or health officers.

So the next time you see a leaky faucet in your house, remember that each drop you spill, could help feed the hungry or save a family.

Save water. Every drop counts.

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