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A number of Cape Town venues are implementing water saving measures in response to the city’s level 5 water restrictions and the approaching holiday season. The results have been impressive: Tsogo Sun reported reducing its water use by 17% and the Vineyard Hotel reduced its water use in August by 30% compared to the same period last year.

Here are 30 different strategies that venues can adopt to conserve water (and, therefore, money):

  1. Communicate your water-saving efforts with your guests clearly so you have their buy-in. This can be done pre-arrival with an email, on arrival at check-in, and in their room with a printed card or flyer.
  2. Educate your staff about how to save water and why.
  3. Install dual flush toilets.
  4. Have motion sensor taps that are programmed to turn off quickly.
  5. Make sure all taps and showerheads are low flow to reduce the speed water runs through them.
  6. Encourage guests to have short showers and switch the water off while they soap up.
  7. Install timers in the showers and ask guests to limit showers to a maximum of 5 minutes, but preferably 3 minutes.
  8. Install automatic shower activators that provide hot water on demand, so no water is wasted waiting for it to warm up.
  9. Leave a bucket in the shower and encourage guests to collect some of their shower water run-off. Staff can then empty it into the gardens.
  10. Install a greywater recycling system which can recycle shower and tap water. If you do this, opt for biodegradable soaps and cleaning products.
  11. Discourage guests from taking baths by removing the plugs and asking them to call reception to use them.
  12. Provide hand sanitizer as an alternative to washing hands with soap and water.
  13. Reduce your laundry needs by providing paper towels in the bathroom and paper napkins with meals. You can also opt to not use tablecloths.
  14. Encourage guests to re-use towels and bedding, also to reduce your laundry requirements.
  15. Speak to your chef to create a menu that uses minimal water for food preparation. For example, steaming and boiling use more water than baking and grilling.
  16. Unsalted cooking water should not be thrown away but can be used on the gardens, as can glasses or bottles of water that guests leave unfinished.
  17. Serve more vegetarian food, as it uses less water to grow vegetables than it does to feed and raise livestock.
  18. Plan ahead and defrost food naturally rather than in a sink of water.
  19. Make improvements to your food preparation and planning to reduce food waste.
  20. Make sure you are using suppliers who are also adopting water-wise measures.
  21. Wipe dishes to remove most of the dirt before washing, to keep the water cleaner for longer.
  22. Re-use your rinsing water and ice bucket water to mop the floors.
  23. Better yet, stop using ice buckets.
  24. Only switch the dishwasher on when it has a full load.
  25. Install water tanks to catch rainfall for your gardens.
  26. Remove thirsty alien species from the gardens and plant water-wise indigenous vegetation.
  27. Mulch the soil to prevent water loss through evaporation.
  28. Close the pool area.
  29. Deal with leaks timeously.
  30. Monitor water consumption closely so you can pick up any spikes in use and identify what may have caused it – and then address it.

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