Water – An Important Resource

Water – An Important Resource
April 2, 2015 Bradley Cox

Guest Column by
K. Denaye Hinds – OBM International

With World Water Day having just passed, it is a great time to reflect on the importance of this resource which we often take for granted. It is estimated that women and children globally, spend 200 million hours every single day, simply collecting water. (Water for Women Report, United Nations).
Yet often times we take for granted the luxury we have with our abilities to simply turn on a tap and receive water. The 200 million hours spent could be better used for education, earning a living and making a difference within their communities.
What is your tourism enterprise’s mandate on water efficiency and how are you doing your part as a hotel owner/operator and guest to ensure you utilize water in a more sparingly. Within the Green Globe Standards – an emphasis on Water Efficiency is evident. As you seek to move forward with your certification how will you tackle meeting these requirements?
Let’s take a look at the standard and share some practical tips on how you can reduce water use within your resort or tourism enterprise.

D.1.4: Conserving Resources: Water Consumption

  • Implement sub metering throughout your property to track and manage water daily from various departments within your resort. Through tracking the usage, you are able to create a baseline for reduction goals to be set and effectively plan strategies for reduction.
  • Implement motion sensors on taps in restrooms to reduce run time of water, Memories Grand Bahama has implemented motion sensors in their public restrooms.
  • Install low flow fixtures or low flow aerators in your current taps and shower heads much like Bucuti, Aruba.
  • Make it everyone’s responsibility to check for and report water leaks throughout the property – Karisma Hotels & Resorts, Riviera Maya, Mexico has this in practice amongst their staff.
  • Implement grey water collection or rainwater collection and use this for watering of grass and plants. Blue Horizons, Grenada has a gravity feed, rainwater collection system.
  • Use xeroscaping within your landscape design to include drought tolerant and native plants which thrive in the natural conditions with minimal watering requirements.
  • Collect spent water from kitchens and restaurants (water from dish washing, water from tables, etc.) for use in watering plants – much like Royalton White Sands, Jamaica.
  • Communicate to your guests through facts, local and global accounts of water use, scarcity and generation – this allows your guests to understand your commitments and why. Tying your sustainability actions into a cause/reason often humanizes the effort, thus encouraging guests to comply. Pan Pacific, Seattle does a great job in guest communication of their initiatives.
  • Implement a charity action! Support a local / global charity which supports water projects and invite guests to donate a dollar for their glass of water, which you would normally give to them free of charge.
  • Instead of purchasing tons of bottled water for your guests (which increases plastic and waste), invest in a water machine and have re-fillable fresh water jugs within your hotel rooms. This may also serve as a great advertising tool if you place your logo!. There are many interesting water production and bottling technologies out there. The most common are those which generate water from the humidity within the air. This brings a whole new meaning to talking around the water cooler ☺. Galley Bay Resort, Antigua gifts re-useable water bottles to guests for use.

There are many more ways for you to reduce your water usage and consumption. With all that you do, be sure to track, measure and monitor to realize savings both in resources and economically.

K. Denaye Hinds is an Accredited Green Globe Auditor and serves as the Lead Auditor for the Caribbean, Mexico and USA. She is the Director of Sustainability for OBM International and the Technical Director of Caribbean Alliance for Sustainable Tourism (CAST), powered by Caribbean Hotel & Tourism Association (CHTA). Contact her for your auditing needs at: dhinds@obmi.com