Saving water needs to become the new normal in South Africa as well as the rest of the world, and Tsogo Sun is leading the way in this regard for the hospitality industry, and business at large. “We have already reduced our water consumption by 40 percent, and have successfully implemented a number of initiatives within our hotels that will continue to have an impact on saving water,” says John van Rooyen, Operations Director – Cape Region at Tsogo Sun.

Installing aerators and flow restrictors on showers and taps in the hotels has meant that the water flow per tap has drastically reduced from approximately 20 litres of water per minute to less than 9 litres of water per minute, in some cases even less. Removing table cloths from restaurants and replacing linen serviettes with good quality paper napkins has resulted in saving almost 4 000 litres of water per day, per hotel.

Van Rooyen adds, “Even though the collective efforts of all sectors within Cape Town has had a positive outcome so far, we cannot afford to lose focus and we must continue to save as much water as we can. Our staff continue to think of innovative ways on how to save water, and everyone in our hotels within the region is tasked with identifying new areas of possible savings.”

Left over mineral water that is collected from conference rooms and guest bedrooms is stored and used for irrigation and cleaning; kitchen staff collect additional water from rinsing foods, and where appropriate steam foods rather than blanching them in order to use less water. Staff canteens now use paper plates in order to reduce dishes that would otherwise require washing, and water usage within the hotels is constantly monitored via specific dashboards.

Over and above these water saving initiatives, the group have embarked on a number of alternative water augmentation plans. These include upgrading the borehole at the Southern Sun Newlands hotel, which has allowed the hotel to go off the city’s water grid completely. Other boreholes have been drilled at SunSquare Cape Town Gardens and Garden Court Nelson Mandela Boulevard.

The installation of a desalination plant by the Hospitality Property Fund, a subsidiary of Tsogo Sun, will be coming online within the next few weeks and will support 3 hotels including The Westin Cape Town, Southern Sun The Cullinan and Southern Sun Waterfront. This will allow for a further reduction in the group’s dependency for water supplied by the City of Cape Town.

“Hotels going off the grid means that we are taking the water we would ordinarily use and allowing it to remain in the system for the greater Cape Town area, helping the city to use their water where it’s needed most. Tsogo Sun remains committed to saving water and have a firm focus on implementing measures that will not only have a positive impact in the current situation but will also contribute to long-term sustainable and effective water use,” says van Rooyen in conclusion.

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Kenneth Ngubane