Cape Town - Day Zero has been pushed to 2019, and coupled with the cooler weather in Cape Town it may seem like signs of hope for the water situation in the drought-stricken areas of the Western Cape. However, it doesn't mean that water saving efforts can be reduced.
While the Mother City's residents and visitors rejoice in having water flow out their taps for a few additional months, everyone is urged to continue implementing water-saving methods to prolong seeing dreaded Day Zero.
The Western Cape's water crisis - together with drought in parts of Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and water restrictions in Johannesburg - and with National Water Week running from 18-24 March, there's no time like now for South Africans to continue practising water saving measures throughout the country and encouraging visitors to do the same.
Most of the City's residents prove to be playing their part when it comes to using water responsibly, which resulted in a reduction of water consumption since 2015, from using 1.2 billion litres of water a day to 516 million a day in February 2018 - cutting consumption by about 60%.
SEE: Cape Water Update: Water consumption reduced by 60% in 3 years, no Day Zero in 2018
Travellers visiting Cape Town also have the responsibility to choose accommodation and travel options that are water-savvy and assist in the city's plans to reduce water consumption.
In 2017 the Federated Hospitality Association of South Africa (FEDHASA) Cape pledged their members to water-saving measures after meeting with hotel general managers, and a commitment was made to improve water conservation measures in accommodation establishments and uphold a water-saving culture among visitors.
Fedhasa Cape Chairperson Jeff Rosenberg says that to deal with international tourism in hotels, all plugs in bathrooms have been removed and restrictors fitted in basin taps. Some pools that are still functional have been converted to seawater pools.
ALSO SEE: #CapeWaterCrisis: Tourism businesses must prepare to be water shortage 'guinea pigs' for global responsible tourism
If you are planning a stay in Cape Town, here are some hotels to consider booking at, which play a part in encouraging tourists to "save like a local".
The hotel has been implementing measures to save water since 2016. Here's why it should be on your accommodation option list:
- Bathrooms are fitted with low-flow shower heads and aerators, coupled with a reduction in pressure. Bath plugs are used to encourage showering instead of bathing.
- Guests with babies are encouraged to use the hotel's Baby Dams – baby bathing systems that can save up to 28 litres of water per use.
- The pool has a liquid pool blanket that minimises evaporation.
- The hotel has a ‘Water from Air’ WFA 100+ machine – a device designed to produce potable drinking water from the surrounding atmosphere.
- Cooling towers are fitted with screens to reduce spillage.
- Spa treatments that use large amounts of water have been removed.
- Guests are encouraged to use hand sanitiser which they are given on arrival.
One&Only Cape Town
The luxurious hotel at the Waterfront as implemented a number of water-saving measures, including:
- Using waterless hand sanitiser.
- Installing eco-shower heads and aerating devices on all taps to minimise demand and consumption, and implementing greywater harvesting. The hotel also collects unused water from ice buckets and half-empty water bottles throughout back-of-house operations.
- Washing cars less.
- Converting fountains into rock gardens and using native and/or succulent plants.
- Topping up swimming pools with treated salt or recycled water.
- Washing linen every few days or once per stay rather than daily.
ALSO SEE: Cape Water Crisis: New initiative to help tourism sector reduce usage
The Table Bay
The Table Bay Hotel says introduced ways to save, store and reuse water. Here's what makes it a water-savvy travel option:
- Grey-water collection point is at the pool plant room where a downpipe has also been plumbed to capture rainwater.
- The hotel installed a recycling backwash system for the pool.
"We’ve found that our guests are very willing to participate in our efforts," says The Table Bay GM Joanne Selby, adding that the hotel has retained similar water consumption during peak and low occupancy periods.
Radisson Hotel Group
Radisson Hotel Group (previously known as Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group) has six hotels - Radisson RED, Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Radisson Blu Le Vendome Hotel, Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands and Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Foreshore - that are participating in water saving initiatives and encouraging guests to save water too.
MUST-SEE: MAP: Where travellers don't have to worry about water restrictions in the Western Cape
This is what makes the hotels ideal for water-wise travellers in Cape Town:
- TV displays and banners in the hotel illustrate the importance of saving water.
- Bottled water is sold at cost price to guests.
- The pool cover is only removed upon request - with no topping up of pool water.
- The hotel group has also invested in a tank that will catch all public bathroom basin water, and is also harvesting rainwater.
- Hand sanitisers available in all public area toilets.
- Buckets placed in showers when requested, and the hotel group has reduced water flows, as well as installed shower heads and water restrictors on taps.
Tsogo Sun SunSquare
This hotel group has reduced its water consumption by more than 17% since 2016. Here's how:
- Pressure valves fitted on showers allow for a maximum flow of 8 litres per minute. Back of house shower pressure valves allow a maximum flow of up to 3 litres. Reduced pressure on hand wash basin taps.
- Extra hot water return line to provide hot water on demand.
- Urinal sensors fitted.
- Sheets and towels are not changed unless requested by guests.
- No tablecloths are used in the restaurant and linen serviettes have been replaced with paper serviettes.
- Building management system to alert high water usage, leaks etc.
ALSO SEE: Cape Water Crisis: 9 ways this hotel reduced its YOY consumption by 17%
Hotel Verde - Africa’s greenest hotel in Cape Town Airport - has received success and international recognition.
The hotel in Cape Town was certified by Fair Trade Tourism (FTT) for its green standards at the annual World Travel Market Africa in 2017, and earned its spot as one of the most sustainable hotels in the world after becoming the first hotel worldwide to receive a double-platinum green building certification from the United States Green Building Council in 2015.
ALSO SEE: Africa's greenest hotel adds Fair Trade stamp to its green hub
The hotel's water-saving features include a low-flow shower to minimise water use, and toilets that flush with grey water.
This hotel is not only a water-wise option, but also the ideal accommodation spot in Cape Town for the eco-conscious traveller. Guests are encouraged to be environmentally conscious while having fun and every time you contribute to saving or generating energy, you will be paid in the hotel’s currency, Verdinos.
Earn Verdinos by jogging around the outdoor track, using the stairs instead of the lift, or opting for air instead of air-con in your room. Additionally, using the gym equipment helps generate power elsewhere in the hotel. Each activity earns you a token that you can spend in the hotel’s shop, at the bar or on food.
In addition to accommodation for travellers, Rosenberg suggests that tourism authorities need to reach out more to restaurants, saying that they need to all adapt to “the new normal – for the next three years” at least, and implement practices such as not having linen napkins and water jugs on the table.
He also says that while placing priority on good hygiene in kitchens, restaurants need to look at other ways to conserve water such as rearranging menus. Steaming food instead of boiling it and using fewer pasta dishes on the menu are some of his suggestions.