Charity begins at home: Water water everywhere, not a drop to drink! ⭐


The hospitality industry is a significant source of water waste. How and why? What is the solution to resolve this issue?

How many of us think of water as a human right? When we discuss water risks & management strategies, the first point to be considered is that People, Eco-Systems and Industries should share the available water. This is not being respected at many levels of Industrial usage, especially in Hospitality Industry. We have an excuse saying that visitors pay for their comfort and we can’t compromise on quality delivery. This is an unsustainable thought. Are we only supposed to serve with quality now? What will happen if we run short of water after two years? What will be our excuse to the customers then?

Won’t it be a sustainable idea to manage our water more systematically to avoid unnecessary waste of water? I will be discussing the water topic this week.

I am happy to share an approximate assessment of the minimum quantity of water needed for domestic use for a small family with two adults:

Drinking: 10 Litres

Cooking: 20 Litres

Personal Washing: 30 Litres

Cloth Washing: 40 Litres

Home Cleaning: 50 Litres

Growing Food in the garden: 60 Litres

Waste Disposal: 70 Litres

This can vary depending on different situations. But my idea is just to give a thought to this when compared to the Industrial use at Hotel units. Do we have a system to measure the use of water resources compared to the occupancy levels? My only idea for such comparisons is to think about how best we can reduce wastage through a better water management system. Our comparison here is on the visitor behaviour while they are at home and in a hotel.

An internationally accepted reasonable water flow rate is as below:

Water taps: 8 litres per minute

Shower: 10 litres per minute

Toilet: 6 litres per flush

When we discuss the water usage at the hospitality units, we should think from two angles. First on whether our water wending outlets like taps, shower or toilets are fitting into a reasonable flow rate. Secondly, how we can still reduce the use of water through sustainable ways and visitor behaviour management.

When we have a cup of tea, almost 35 litres of water is involved, and for a coffee, it is 140 litres. So at hotel units, when we waste a cup of tea, it’s not just a cup but 35 litres of water attached to it!

Visitors may have a general feeling that they pay for their hotel stays, and they can have extra comfort during their holidays. Absolutely fine. But a sustainable organisation must educate the visitors on how better they can be a part of the organisation’s sustainability actions. In my opinion, at least 75% of the visitors will oblige for ideas on water conservation. The critical point to be understood here is that the hotel should have a strategy to inform about the sustainability tips to the customers at least during check-in. Giving surprises to the visitors on such things may not be an excellent idea which may finally clash with their ego and related arguments.

I don’t think any guest will object if they are requested to use the same linen and towels for two nights instead of changing daily. Exceptions are always expected, and it’s fine. Also, there is nothing wrong with providing a bucket in the bathrooms and informing them that they have a provision to collect water in the buckets for taking a bath. At least 25% of the conscious travellers will oblige to this suggestion, and every such bath will save many litres of water. Generally, if a person takes 10 minutes shower, it’s 100 litres of water. But a bucket shower may only waste 30/40 litres of water.

There can also be a severe refusal from the side of the visitors if they feel the accommodation unit is not committed to sustainable options. For example, if a unit is fitted with all fancy elephant head showers, taps without flow restrictors or auto sensors and so on, it will be a waste of time to preach about the conservation of water to a guest. These are again the architectural blunders in the name of luxury amenities.

There are many other areas where a hotel unit can save water. Whether in the kitchen or with the housekeeping, there are a lot of options. Here comes the importance of the involvement of the management in sustainability. The management should have a good idea of sustainability, and they should take a keen interest in educating their entire team about the importance of sustainability. Transparency and inclusion are the two vital points in sustainability. I have seen both these areas are lacking at many of our hotels and our team members have no clue why they should take initiatives on the conservation of water, electricity or any other resources in terms of sustainability elements. Every hotel unit will have unique ways to save water depending upon its geographical features and design.

Let us keep one thing in mind. The Planet has an acute shortage of quality water for human use. Hence every drop we waste is essential. But unless and until we educate our colleagues on this, many may not volunteer towards conservation.

We have no Planet B. Let us conserve better!

Continue Reading… The next article is the last one in this series – Do you mind getting extra savings on your monthly utility bills?

Also Read: Charity begins at home: Sustainability greenwashing in hospitality

(George Scaria is Managing Director of Keralavoyages India Pvt Ltd, a Travelife certified tour operator company. He is one among what Kerala tourism is today. He is a GSTC Certified Sustainable Tourism Professional.)

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)


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