December is the beginning of tourist season in Cape Town, which means an influx of visitors from all around the world as well as from within South Africa to the “Mother City”. They are flocking to the beautiful beaches, luxurious wine farms and breathtaking nature activities that make the city so popular. However, Capetonians themselves are being urged to use less than 87 litres of water per day (and many have made it their goal to use much less) due to a drought that has left dam levels devastatingly low after a winter of much less rain than usual. What are hotels planning on doing when it comes to their out of town guests who may not be aware, or who may even consider themselves exempt?
We’ve rounded up a list of 5 hotels who are taking the steps to save water…
Tsogo Sun Hotel Group
The Tsogo Sun hotel group has 10 hotels in and around Cape Town, one of the most recognisable on the Cape Town skyline is the Southern Sun The Cullinan. The group has introduced water saving measures in all their Cape Town hotels. All baths in guests’ bathrooms have had their plugs removed with a note explaining why. Furthermore, showers and taps have had their pressure reduced so that less water flows out. Showers also have instant hot water so that no water is wasted while waiting for it to heat up. To reduce wasting water on laundry, sheets and towels are only changed on request, while tablecloths and linen serviettes are no longer used in the restaurants. Swimming pools are filled with borehole water and properties that do not have boreholes have water transported to them from the ones that do. There is also a comprehensive monitoring system called Station Seven that monitors water usage by the hour – alerting managers to problem areas and allowing for a quick fix.
The Townhouse Hotel has its very own bucket brigade, which uses buckets of water that are placed in guests’ showers to water the hotel’s plants. It was the GM Jacqueline Williams’ idea “I was driving home one afternoon and I heard someone on the radio mention that she showers with a bucket to catch water and then recycles it in her garden. My husband laughed when I asked him to buy me buckets but two weeks later he commented on how much our family had been able to collect. That was when I thought about the impact we’d have if we involved the Townhouse Hotel guests and staff in a similar initiative.”
The Table Bay hotel has implemented measures to reduce water consumption in their kitchen, garden and swimming pools as well as collecting grey water from the rooms which are used for flushing toilets and watering the garden. The hotel is experimenting with water saving devices in kitchens which includes flow restrictors on taps. In the garden 50% of the flowering plants have been replaced with succulents, other water-wise plants have been planted too, and the irrigation system has been replaced with a drip system that reduces water consumption by 60%.The pool recycles backwashed water into the pool after being treated. Educating guests about the situation is important which is why notices are placed in each room explaining the hotel’s water conservation campaign and offering tips on how to save water.
The Vineyard Hotel is saving water and spreading smiles. Throughout the hotel, bath plugs have been removed from the bathtubs and were replaced with adorable little rubber duckies and a sign explaining why. The showers also have waterproof stopwatches to help guests keep their showers short, as the recommended amount is under 2 minutes. They have also invested in a water-wise infrastructure which involves using greywater for hotel plumbing and using borehole water for the gardens and swimming pools.
Spier actually began focusing on water conservation 10 years ago. They built an innovative and eco-friendly wastewater treatment plant, which is actually a must-see attraction at the wine farm. The plant treats water from the hotels, restaurants, winery and food packaging facilities. The treated water is used for irrigation purposes throughout the 6-acre property. Their commitment to water-saving is an ongoing process and they are currently investigating a new pool water harvesting system. Until that is implemented the hotel’s seven pools will remain closed.