Please Don’t Refill My Water

Water is precious. It’s a commodity that makes up 70% of the world. If you look at the history of most communities they formulated around a water source a river, lake, or sea. Think about it, some of the biggest cities kiss the ocean or sea like New York City, Miami, Dubai, and Hong Kong. If you’re familiar with astronomy and space exploration you know that many times explorers use finding water has a way to confirm life on a planet.

Water is a source of life. Many nations all over the world struggle to receive clean water. Despite wide knowledge, nations such as the United States specifically in Flint, Michigan struggle to receive clean water like many countries around the world. It’s a wonder how undervalued water is in the United States.

In restaurants in the United States, water is a given. Literally. Most restaurants will give customers a glass of water without even asking first.  A complete disregard to if an individual actually wants the water. Then the server proceeds to ask “Would you like anything else to drink?”

How can one person drink so much and eat in one sitting? Answer: They don’t. Something goes to waste. It’s clear, refreshing on a hot day, and the first thing you offer guest in a Ghanaian household. If you haven’t figured it out already. It’s water. Water is wasted in the highest regard.

It completely breaks my heart and annoys my husband to hear me complaining about wasted water. I constantly have to get on the waiter that is serving me.

“Noo noo I am fine.”

“I don’t want water.”

“No thank you.”

These statements once said sweetly now come out more forceful. I have learned if I don’t say it loud and firm, they continue to pour. They ask me if I’m sure. Mind you I never said I wanted more water in the first place. But I already know the answer.


It’s a tricky situation because the restaurant industry teaches them to pour when someone’s water is getting low but it’s just darn wasteful. The protocol should be to first ask then refill if they say yes.

Deep down I know this should truly be an opportunity to educate. Where the conversations are mutual and full of willingness to learn. Unfortunately that’s usually not the case. Servers can be overworked, tired, ready to leave, you name it. This all impacts their ability to meet your no refill needs. But don’t get discouraged. Keep fighting the great fight. Help people see how they can cut their waste and be a part of a movement.

I have taken it upon myself to do the no water refill challenge for the last couple of months. I say no to a water refills unless I want more water. Sometimes I am successful and sometimes I am not. But it’s nice to have a husband, partner or friend that’s on board with what you’re trying to do. My husband once recommend we share a glass of water at a restaurant. He knew I wasn’t going to drink much and he wasn’t either. It was a perfect match. I was touched by his thoughtfulness and it was much more romantic to drink from one cup with our straws. It felt like a true Lady and The Tramp moment minus the meatballs and spaghetti.

I recognize that I have only tackled some of this battle. As you can see from the photos, there’s still plastic straws in all my drinks. But baby steps. I don’t want to drink more than I can swallow. 

Water is good for you but even too much water is bad. Be bold and say no to the refill.

Let me know how your no refill challenge goes!

2 thoughts on “Please Don’t Refill My Water

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