Disaster, emergency, catastrophe – just a few words to describe the current water crisis in Cape Town as the province enters its fifth year of extreme draught. With longer dry periods and shorter rainfall, dams were estimated to be less than 30% as we approach Winter months, however, at present have already dropped as low as 22% (1). With such extremity governance is important in addressing the water crisis, changing industries and people's attitudes toward water usage is equally vital.
The hospitality industry, one of the largest water consumers, has also been making an effort to preserve the environment, and reduce the carbon footprint of its guests. The President Hotel, situated in Bantry Bay, Cape Town, has invested in permanent eco-friendly practices focusing on conserving guests’ water usage.
Water restrictors, designed to reduce the flow of water in litres by minute, are being installed in all guest room taps and showers. Greywater systems have also been put in place, capturing air-conditioners outlet water for gardening and cleaning. Additionally, they have partnered with their laundry provider “Galleria” to recycle all the water from the final rinse phase and to use for the following 1st wash cycle to add to further savings.
“As a major player in the city’s hospitality sector and water user we must do our part in fighting this dire situation, but we also want to take our efforts a step further and make our savings efforts a way of life and incorporate into our everyday service practices,” said Reinard Korf, Assistant Hotel Manager and director of the President’s water saving program. With this initiative, the hotel invites their hospitality partners and guests to take action and do their part in preserving the environment and provides a few tips for those who are wanting to make their own impact in reducing their water usage.
Check for leaks – A small crack could mean several litres lost per month so make sure old pipes are replaced and repaired. Swimming pools tend to be a high source for water leaks.
Switch off water features – We all value the ambiance our properties offer, however, during a time of crisis no one will hold a poor opinion should your water features be switched off to preserve fresh water.
Recycled water – Look at creative methods to capture water from various outlet pipes that could be used for your gardens or cleaning.
Look at auto wash settings – Review the equipment in the scullery area that may have eco-mode options that can be activated and this could add to additional savings. If not, ensure that your machine is filled to the fullest before a wash and install a water saving rinse head for pre-cleaning the dishes.
Educate your peers – At the hotel, the guests are informed about the water saving initiatives the hotel is taking and quite often are well aware of the dire situation the city is in. Share your actions with guests, mates or family, ask for their help and make it a team effort rather than an inconvenience.