Conserving water is a new normal in Cape Town – and a recommended practice elsewhere in South Africa, as water restrictions are in place across much of the country. Here are 20 ways you can manage water consumption in a responsible manner at your events:


  1. Choose a venue that already has water-wise measures in place, such as a rainwater harvesting system, grey water re-use system, dual flush toilets and motion sensor taps in the bathrooms, and indigenous plants in the gardens.
  2. If you are booking accommodation for your guests, or recommending it to them, also look for hotels and guest houses that have water-saving attributes, including low-flow shower heads and a linen and towel re-use system.
  3. For outdoor events, consider using waterless urinals and chemical portable toilets which use recycled water.
  4. Provide hand sanitisers for keeping hands clean, and in lieu of washing hands with soap and water.
  5. Select a menu that does not require much water for its preparation. For example, grill and bake instead of steam, boil and blanch, and serve salads and relishes instead of soups and sauces.
  6. Do not serve foods with a bain-marie; focus on serving cold foods or using hot plates to keep food warm.
  7. Ensure all drinks are well chilled and don’t serve them with ice. Instead only make ice available on request, which should reduce its use.
  8. Don’t throw away left over ice and glasses of water that have been served. Instead re-use it, for example to wash floors.
  9. Jugs of water for thirsty guests are a nice touch. But instead of setting them out everywhere, have a few central refreshment stations where guests can help themselves. Fewer jugs means less waste.
  10. Reduce your laundry needs, and choose to not use linen table cloths and serviettes. Instead use paper ones that can be composted afterwards. Shesha Film & Event Caterers present their food with biodegradable brown paper on the tables. They then use markers to write fun messages or labels for the food, which also creates a funky playful effect. If the tables are attractive, you can also simply use them without tablecloths.
  11. Similarly, instead of serving food with crockery and cutlery which needs to be washed, you could opt for biodegradable containers and eating utensils. However, if you do this, make sure you have an appropriate way to collect and compost these items at the end of the event so they do not go to landfill.
  12. Where possible, opt for eco-friendly cleaning materials that make it safe to re-use any grey water afterwards, such as for on plants.
  13. You can also seek out water saving technologies for your event. Water From Air™ is a water filter that extracts water from the air, and purifies it so that it is safe for human consumption.
  14. For the décor, forgo cut flowers in vases. If you do want plants, opt for potted indigenous ones that don’t require a lot of water and which can be re-used.
  15. If you want to give attendee gifts, give some thought as to how you can source responsible gift choices. For example, items made out of wood from invasive alien species. Most invasive species use up a lot of water compared to indigenous plants. By supporting their removal from our environment, you are helping to curtail their water use.
  16. Clearly communicate your water saving initiatives to your staff and guests so that they both understand and can support them.
  17. Ask your suppliers and sponsors how they plan to conserve water in their operations. Ideally this should be discussed before any contracts are drawn up, so that the water saving agreement they make with you can be included in it.
  18. Don’t only focus on water saving measures at your event; look at the changes you can make in your offices. Try to implement changes that are sustainable in the long term, so that you can have a truly significant and lasting impact.
  19. Don’t forget to measure and monitor your water consumption. Ask the venue to help you do this, so you can track how successful your efforts are – and gain insights into what you can do better next time.
  20. Consider adopting a water-wise CSI project for your event, so that you can support an initiative beyond your event and help to leave behind a water wise legacy.

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