With Day Zero less than three months away, the city of Cape Town is preparing for the day the taps run dry - and the weeks that follow.
Effective from 1 February, Capetonians will be restricted to 50 liters per person, per day, for at least 150 days, as Level 6B water restrictions come into force. On 12 April, or what is now known as Day Zero, residents will have to collect water from approximately 200 sites across Cape Town - where they will receive 25 liters of water per person.
To help alleviate the problem, Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is committed to preserve the remaining water with the intention of delaying Day Zero. Each of our six hotels in the region has been actively embarking on operational changes and continuously implementing new initiatives to save as much water as possible since the water crisis started. They are also taking every opportunity to educate and encourage their guests to save water too.
“It is vital that both local and international guests in the city are made aware of our current extreme water crisis, and strictly adhere to the regulations that have been put in place to save water,” said William McIntyre, Regional Director of Southern Africa for Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group. “The great news is that, to date, our guests have been very accommodating, understanding and supportive. In line with these regulations, our hotels are implementing various water-saving measures to ensure that both staff and guests adhere to the prescribed water restrictions.”
“Education has always been a key component of our water-saving campaigns,” added McIntyre. “Guests are informed of the water crisis at all touch points, including upon arrival. Guests will also see signage in the hotel lifts and rooms as a constant reminder. Additional communication is presented by TV displays in the hotels, illustrating the importance of the hotel group’s ‘Think Planet, Think Community and Think People’ goals and placing a strong focus on awareness of the need to support water-saving measures.”
The six Carlson Rezidor hotels in the region have taken several practical steps to cut down on water usage. They have removed the large flush option from the dual-flush systems (as well as the automatic flush from their urinals), removed all the bath plugs and have installed aerators to reduce water flow from all taps. And, to make these measures more effective, the hotels provide hand sanitizers in public areas and bathrooms.
Reducing the amount of laundry is also essential, and guests are encouraged to reuse their towels as part of the ongoing ‘Just a Drop’ initiative, which assists in providing children around the world with access to safe drinking water. In addition, the linen is changed every three days or upon request.
Here is a more in-depth look at the additional initiatives the six Carlson Rezidor hotels in Cape Town have put in place:
“Our team has reworked our down pipes to ensure all rain water collected on the roof flows straight into the pool and not down the drain,” said Jim Schleich, General Manager of Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Foreshore. “Our housekeepers also collect the ‘last rinse water’ from our washing machines, which is used to top up the pool, water the remaining plants and clean the floors. The plants at the entrance of our hotel have also been replaced with artificial alternatives.”
“We are selling bottled water at cost price to our guests, as we need to have each other’s best interests at heart - especially during this time of crisis,” said Clinton Thom, General Manager of Park Inn by Radisson Cape Town Newlands and Radisson Blu Le Vendome Hotel, Cape Town. “We’ve also placed a strong emphasis on recycling used water - for example by providing guests with buckets to catch their shower water, and the installation of a tank to catch the bathroom basin water that we can then reuse in the garden. We have also applied to the City of Cape Town to tap into the Newlands Spring Water for hotel usage once we reach Day Zero.”
“Since the commencement of the water crisis, we have showcased in the hotel lobby, a prominent display, using bottles of mineral water to illustrate how much water can be saved by adhering to the quick shower instead of bath,” said Debra Sivertsen, General Manager of Radisson Blu Hotel Waterfront, Cape Town. “We have also successfully implemented numerous initiatives to align ourselves with The City of Cape Town’s water saving strategy, ensuring that guests are not unduly affected by the City of Cape Town’s water rationing and securing sufficient water storage to provide to guests during shortages.”
“Our popular infinity pool was one of the first in the city to close to prevent evaporation and unnecessary use of water. It has subsequently reopened and going forward, it will be topped up with filtered seawater only, when required.”
“To encourage shorter showers, we have installed timers and stickers in all the showers,” said Desmond O’Connor, General Manager of Radisson Blu Hotel & Residence, Cape Town. “We’ve also implemented numerous measures in our back-of-house areas to reduce water usage - for example, using only microwaves or ovens to defrost food items, removing wash basins in some areas and controlling the usage of our chillers to reduce condenser water consumption. We closed our pool a few months ago, but have reopened it over the holiday period using non-potable water (and with the intention of closing it at the end of January). We have also turned off the pool heater and installed a water blanket as additional measures.”
“All of our water fixtures are Green Leaf certified, contributing towards a reduction in water usage,” said Dale Simpson, Curator of Radisson RED Cape Town. “Our newly built hotel has incorporated design elements that assist in water saving, such as eco-flush on all toilets, showers that heat up in under six seconds instead of baths, and a climate control system that uses ocean water for heating and cooling processes.”
“We have included a ‘H20 Help’ water menu, which can be found in the key-card sleeve and interactive TVs in the hotel rooms,” continued Simpson. “This highlights the many ways guests can assist the hotel in saving water. One of the menu items that has become a standard part each bathroom is the addition of red buckets in the shower, which captures water to reuse on the roof. We’ve also changed our front-of-house uniforms to custom-designed t-shirts illustrating a dripping tap image and the message to help Cape Town save water. This immediately engages guests upon arrival, and provides the ideal opportunity to allow us to explain the crisis appropriately. In terms of our splash pool on our rooftop, we only refill it with plant water.”
“Every drop counts,” concluded McIntyre, “And the Carlson Rezidor Hotel Group is committed to ensuring that its hotels save as much water as possible. With our guests’ support, we can truly make a difference - and, with the strongest of hopes, delay the arrival of Day Zero.”