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Saving Water in Hospitality

By 3p Contributor

By Anna Palmer

Water scarcity remains a global problem. Indeed, demand for water could exceed supply by 40 percent ... by the year 2030! Indeed, current statistics indicate that a mere 1 percent of the water on earth is freshwater. And, given the change in climate, even that 1 percent is under threat.

In other words, it’s vital to start taking immediate action to combat excessive water use.

Why the hospitality industry?

There are a number of reasons that the hospitality industry should be at the forefront of reducing water usage. For starters, it would benefit them: Hotels will often pay twice for the water they use, purchasing fresh water but then disposing of it as waste. Indeed, it’s been estimated that they could cut down their water use by up to 50 percent, per guest, per night if they put the right processes in place.

Of course, the ethical argument is more compelling. Water is a scarce resource, and everyone has a duty to reduce the amount that they waste. Reducing the amount of wastewater requiring treatment in turn lessens the overall risk of water pollution.

Research conducted by Stockholm International Water Institute shows that almost 20 percent of the world’s population currently live in areas where water is genuinely scarce. Meanwhile, it’s estimated that a typical 300-room hotel will use around 60,000 gallons of water each day: nearly 200 gallons per room.

What’s in it for the hospitality industry?

There is a multitude of reasons why being ethical can be advantageous for the hospitality industry. Here are three of them:

  • If a hotel can demonstrate a positive impact on water scarcity, this is almost instant positive PR.

  • People want to work for an ethical company, so the quality of applicants for jobs can increase.

  • Customers who are aware of the cause are also likely to seek out venues that are doing their bit to help save water.

So, how does a hotel actually go about saving water?

One of the great things about the hospitality industry is that it’s possible to take action immediately. There are a lot of different areas in which slight adjustments can help to save water.

Let’s start looking round the hotel …

Guest rooms

More and more hotels are now asking guests to request clean sheets and towels each day, rather than providing them as a matter of course. This is obviously a great way to instantly start saving water, and if a hotel doesn’t already do this, it’s a brilliant place to start. Reusing towels, for instance, might seem minor but can make a big difference.

Dual-flush toilets and water-efficient showers are also worth a look, as they will start saving water immediately when compared to the older models. Of course, any hotel just starting out should install them from the offset.

Public amenities

The same should go for the public amenities: Sensor-operated urinals and dual-flush toilets, as well as water-efficient taps, will instantly start saving water. The energy-efficient taps can also be used in the kitchens: Combining this with flow regulators will help kitchens use less water.

Cooling towers

Cooling towers might not be an immediately obvious way in which to cut down water usage, but a combination of regular maintenance and increasing the cycles of concentration can have a positive impact.

Public pools

Public swimming pools are, unsurprisingly, worth looking at. Though it might seem a bit contradictory when looking to save water, it’s important to ensure regular maintenance and regulated backwash: Essentially, the cleaner the pool stays, the less the water will need to be replaced in the long term.

The laundry room

Finally, a hotel should take a closer look at their laundry list. As well as asking guests to request clean sheets and towels, reusing rinse water, recycling cooling water and using high quality AAA-rated washings can all make a great contribution.

Image credits: 1) Pexels 2) Flickr/Dan McKay

Anna Palmer is an interior designer, currently working with Hugo Oliver, a company that continually work to develop ethically-focused products such as dual flush toilets and water efficient showers, as well as a number of other lines.

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