The seas and oceans, covering up to 71% of the earth’s surface contain 97% of the total water on Earth. The remaining 3% is freshwater including the two-thirds in form of ice at the poles and in the glaciers. It would therefore mean that only approximately 1% of freshwater available in lakes, groundwater, atmosphere and rivers remain. Over the past few decades, demand for this remaining 1% of the water has since increased especially due to the rapid increase of global population. The condition has been worsened by climate change with weather patterns becoming more pronounced and less predictable. For instance, numerous areas continue to experience prolonged drought periods the rains that fall in other areas are heavy. As water is essential in many industries, there has been an increased awareness on water conservation. In the hotel and tourism industry for instance, water is essential for cleaning and hygiene, guest comfort, food preparation and recreation. In addition, the industry further depends on their supply sectors such as food and drink industries and agriculture all, which require sufficient water supply. The essay will discuss on some of these issues and offer various ways through which hotels and restaurants can conserve this limited resource.
The catering industry is a significant water beneficiary and thus It is important that hotels and restaurants use water sparingly. Research observes that the water used by the catering industry accounts for about 15% of the total water used in businesses in the United States. (Kenniff et al, 32) Significant amounts of water are used in kitchen equipment, processes, and restrooms. Experts have observed over the last decade, that the costs of water and wastewater services have superseded above consumer price index. (Wan et al, 88) In addition, it has been observed that where caution is not taken, these costs will continue to rise in the near future. Implementing water-efficient practices offer various benefits. For instance, water accounts for 10% of utility bills in hotels and restaurants and implementing such progressive initiatives will significantly reduce that percentage. (Wan et al, 88) This is especially since they pay for the water they used twice. This is to include the initial purchase of the water and then costs incurred while disposing its wastewater. It has been observed that establishments implementing these initiatives may reduce up to 50% of the water consumed by a guest per night when compared with other establishments that have poor performances in the consumption of water. (Chan, 67)
In an attempt to conserve water, the first step is to identify sources that require or use most of the water. For instance, in a hotel scenario, this would include; the swimming pool, laundry, kitchen equipment wash, rooms, cooling towers and the hotel landscape among others. After identifying these areas, hotels and restaurants should then implement ways through which they can reduce water wastage in order to conserve as much water as possible. These may include using three sink washing methods that may significantly reduce water wastage and discourage running water taps. In laundry cases, hotels should implement water saving initiatives such a laundry planned washing sequence that requires implementing a full load washing cycle and providing a flow meter that monitors consumption. (Kenniff et al, 32) developing such programs in hotels may contribute significantly in the prevention of water wastage.
Another strategy is satisfying their guests’ needs while at the same time avoiding water wastage. While guests expect a sufficient supply of water and pressure, hotels and restaurants should secure this expectation by saving water in other areas. This may include fitting appropriate water-saving equipment’s such as in showers. In addition, these establishments should also educate their guests on ways through which they may help in conserving water. It is important to note that hotels and restaurants may conserve significant amounts of water without compromising the comfort of their guests. Another way is by improving efficiency. (Wan et al, 88) Hotels and restaurants should observe regular efficient measurements as a regular standard procedure especially in high water consuming areas such as the kitchen and water-consuming equipment’s. Hotels and restaurants should ensure that efficient procedures are put in place for identifying and fixing leaks swiftly.
Since water is a scare resource, these establishments should allocate appropriate budgets to cater for the same. Research observes that many establishments use approximately 3% of their earning on water conservation. (Wan et al, 88) Hotels should hold water users accountable and this can be achieved by installing sub-meters and allocating charges to the various departments for their consumption waste. In addition, hotel and restaurants should re-charge independent operators existing on establishments for their water consumption. Hotels should also regularly change their budgets on conservation of water in reference to the trends and patterns observed and experienced over the years. Various factors in consideration include factors such as events and occupancy. These catering businesses should also use performance criteria in conserving water. They should subject their departments on a performance criterion. In addition, they should set various targets to those departments and further continue to monitor results. This strategy may be useful in analyzing water consumption and taking relevant steps where necessary.
Hotels and restaurants should also invest in new technology. This requires them to constantly review technologies available in the market and further assess whether such technologies can assist in creating efficiencies. Hotels should seek to install devices that reduce consumption of water. Such devices may include low flow showerheads, high efficiency aerators, dual flush systems in toilets, flow restrictors, planters hose nozzles and pressure reduction valves. Such installations may significantly reduce water wastage annually. In doing so, they can constantly look for and interact with experts on this field who may provide important pointers on the most efficient innovations. Hotels and restaurants should also conduct technological reviews to ensure that the installations available are up-to-date and friendly on water consumption.
Another way is by setting high standards in new projects. Where these businesses venture on planning for refurbishments, new buildings or extensions, they should incorporate measures that are water efficient from the outset. Another strategy on water conservation is by providing adequate training to stakeholders especially to the staff. The staff should adequately be trained on water consumption and further encouraged to apply the training into practice. In reference to this, the employer should encourage teamwork and encourage suggestions on new ways to save and re-use water without necessarily inconveniencing the guests. Since water is a limited resource, recycling can also be an important initiative for observing sustainability. Thus, hotels and restaurants should try to recycle the water used to preserve as much water as possible. Hotels and restaurants should further maintain a zero discharge of water waste pollutants and regularly monitor water consumption through both internal and external agencies.
We can do it today.
Choosing the right vendors may also prove as a crucial factor in the conservation of water. Aspects such as cost capability, effectiveness and the resources that service hotel fixtures and equipment’s may govern this choice without the need of their continuous advancement or upgrade. Vendors should be chosen based on their standards of service. Finally, hotels and restaurants should design a water conservation plan. The plan should be read together with various laws and regulations to ensure maximal results in water conservation. These businesses should perhaps designate this role to an independent individual or body whose sole purpose is designing the most appropriate plan suitable for the particular hotel or restaurant.
In conclusion, conservation of water in hotels and restaurants is very important both to the business and to the society as well. Hotels and restaurants stand to benefit through budget reductions on purchase of water and ensure sustainability of the water, which is beneficial to the society.
- Chan, Wilco W. “Environmental measures for hotels’ environmental management systems: ISO 14001.” International Journal of Contemporary Hospitality Management 21.5 (2009): 542-560.
- Kenniff, Vlada, Che Flowers, and Kara Pho. “Growing a Public-Private Water Conservation Partnership Program With Restaurants in New York City.” Journal-American Water Works Association 108.2 (2016): 30-35.
- Wan, Yim King Penny, et al. “Environmental awareness, initiatives and performance in the hotel industry of Macau.” Tourism Review 72.1 (2017): 87-10