Tsogo Sun has reduced water usage at its Cape Town hotels by nearly 300 000 litres a day in the past six months.

According to Garry Reed, General Manager at Southern Sun Hotels, the savings were achieved while occupancy at the hotels increased by an average 22% during the same time.

From September 3, the City of Cape Town has implemented level 5 water restrictions as not enough water is being saved.

The Southern Sun Cullinan has seen a 23% water saving, reducing litres per bed night from 520 to 397, while the Cape Sun went from 402 litres per bednight to 339, a 15,7% saving. The Southern Sun Waterfront hotel reduced its water usage from 436 litres per bednight to 372 for a 14,7% saving while StayEasy Century City saved 25% by reducing 180 litres per bed night to 134.

The Southern Sun Newlands also reduced water usage by 14% from 423 litres per bed night to 356.

“We are extremely committed to reducing water usage in our Cape Town hotels,” said Reed, acknowledging that the hotel industry had a huge impact on the water scenario.

Speaking in Cape Town, Reed said a range of initiatives had been introduced to reduce water usage at all hotels in the city, while plans for desalitation plants for three hotels, including Southern Sun Waterfront and the Cullinan, were in the pipeline.

“We are also working towards taking the Southern Sun Newlands completely off the grid as the hotel not only has a borehole but is ideally located to the Newlands Spring. We are in the process of applying for a water usage permit for this spring,” said Reed.

He said one of the biggest investments into reduced water usage was the installation of water restrictors on shower heads throughout all the facilities. “This has seen us go from between 16 and 20 litres per minute out of a shower head to a flow rate of nine litres per minute. Century City, Southern Sun Newlands and SunSquare City Bowl are all compliant, with the Cullinan and the Cape Sun still in the process of being overhauled.”

He said signage at the entrance and reception desks of all the hotels informed guests of the crisis in the Western Cape while every guest was also issued with a water saving card with ideas of how to save water while staying in the hotel.

“We have introduced paper napkins in all our restaurants and removed all tablecloths, while the washing of bedlinen and towels is now only done on request of a guest during their stay and not daily as was the norm,” adds Reed.

He said return lines had been installed in the showers – meaning instant hot water – while ice was no longer placed in any of the urinals in the hotels and staff showering facilities had also been reduced to water flow of less than three litres per minute.

According to Anton Bredell, Western Cape Minister of Local Government, Environmental Affairs and Development Planning, businesses in Cape Town are under increasing pressure to reduce water usage.

“Cape Town now has level 5b water restrictions in place, with several other municipalities in the province set to follow in the coming weeks,” he said.

With dam levels at less than 35% and the winter rains just about over, serious concern exists over water levels, with the tourism and events high season just around the corner.

Minister of Economic Opportunities and Tourism, Alan Winde, told Tourism Update that businesses like Tsogo Sun had to be commended and their initiatives shared on a wider scale to allow other organisations to learn and institute similar measures.

“That way we introduce a new best practice and raise the bar for all industries not only here in the Western Cape,” he said.