With Cape Town, like many parts of South Africa, in the throes of a crippling water shortage, Sun International’s The Table Bay Hotel has introduced various interventions to recover, reuse and store water in order to conserve water and limit the hotel’s impact on both the environment and municipal water supply.
“South Africa is a semi-arid country, making water a scarce and precious resource. The current water shortage in the Western Cape makes the situation particularly precarious. With building a sustainable community and environment close to our heart, we are intensifying our efforts to save water. We all need to use precious resources mindfully. Collaboratively, every little bit helps,” says Joanne Selby, the General Manager at The Table Bay Hotel.
The Table Bay has intensified its efforts to save and reuse water by implementing two grey water collection systems. The first collection system treats and stores water from the kitchens and a number of rooms, which is then used to flush the public toilets in the banquet area, staff ablutions and to also water the gardens throughout the hotel. The second collection system recycles backwashed water back into the swimming pool.
“It is astonishing that in South Africa we use fresh, potable water for flushing toilets. Abroad, it is commonplace to use grey water for this purpose. We can now proudly say that The Table Bay is doing the same within our banquet area and staff ablutions,” says Selby.
In addition the hotel has installed a complete recycling pool backwash water system that will feed back into the pool to further optimise the use of water at the pool,
To improve the water efficiency of the hotel’s gardens, water wise plants are being planted; with the hotel’s flowering plants being replaced with succulents which require less water. In addition, the irrigation system in the garden beds at the main entrance has been replaced with a drip system which reduces water consumption by up to 60%.
Selby explains that additional water meters have been installed to allow water consumption in different areas of the hotel to be monitored closely. With these water meters, the team will be able to incorporate water monitoring into the Energy Monitoring dashboard to measure usage and generate reports. This will enable the team to identify areas of high consumption and proactively implement tactics to curb it where possible.
“We are also experimenting with various water saving devices in the kitchens where water usage is necessary. These include devices such as flow restrictors on taps and energy and water efficient showerheads” says Selby.
The Table Bay has also introduced a campaign to engage its guests in its water saving efforts. Notices are placed on arrival, in rooms and bathrooms to advise guests about the hotel’s water savings campaign and offer easy tips for reducing water consumption that won’t compromise the guest experience.
“Being a five star hotel with a vast international, green conscious clientele, we have found that guests are very willing to participate in our efforts because they see it as taking positive action towards the environment,” says Selby.
“We are proud of what we have achieved in our efforts to date to make our operations greener. The interventions we have implemented have allowed us to retain similar water consumption during peak occupancy periods to that of our lowest occupancy periods.
“Looking ahead, The Table Bay Hotel will investigate systems to facilitate rainwater harvesting. Water conservation is a long term initiative for us. We hope to inspire other companies to do be proactive about saving water,” concludes Selby.