Ways to Conserve Water in Hotels while Traveling

There are so many details to consider when planning a trip. Where to stay? How should we move around? What are the attractions to see? And (our favorite question), what to eat? But there is one more thing that every traveler should take into account. It is the impact of their trip on the planet and its water resources.

Every year World Water Day highlights the importance that water has in our lives and how we should carry out a sustainable management of all sources of drinking water. The shortage of drinking water is a global problem known to all. It is estimated that by 2030 half of the Earth's population will live in areas of water scarcity.

Most of the water is in the oceans (97%), leaving only 3% of drinking water. Of this, approximately two-thirds are found in polar glaciers. Only 1% of drinking water is therefore in rivers, lakes, atmosphere and underground wells. But while the accessible drinking water has barely changed its volume over recent centuries, the population of the planet has done so.

In the last 40 years, therefore, the water available per human being has been reduced by exactly half.

The increase of a population with higher living standards than any previous generation and the multiplication of water-intensive agriculture yield an unfavorable result for the only 1% of the planet's drinking water. An equation to which we must add is climate change and its transformation of weather patterns. There are less predictable and more pronounced manifestations.

While some geographical areas are exposed to periods of prolonged drought that until now had never experienced, other areas are saturated by unexpected torrential rains. Some of the most popular destinations on Earth are located near vulnerable rivers, oceans, and lakes. The improper disposal of waste, the inability to treat wastewater and other bad practices can seriously damage these waterways.

The tourism industry, in particular, is perhaps one of the most important in the efficient use of water, since it is part of daily operations.

In this situation, hotel companies have the moral and commercial imperative to improve their water management. The cost is a clear factor as water consumption accounts for an average of 10% of the fixed expenditure of any hotel. Many hotels also pay double for the water they consume, first of all by buying drinking water and secondly by disposing of it as wastewater.

On the other hand, the moral aspect is equally compelling. Water is a scarce resource in many resorts around the world. This is why hotels have the responsibility not to use more than necessary. It is more so in remote areas where only efficient management ensures local residents are not deprived of essential supplies.

By choosing hotels that prioritize the purity of water and its conservation, along with a personal effort, you can make a big difference in protecting the water sources of the planet. Here are some tips to help hotels take care of water management:

Establishing a water management plan

To establish and achieve realistic, relevant and measurable goals, the hotels will need to dedicate time and resources to careful planning and subsequent follow-up. The first step in creating a water management and saving plan will be the measurement of water consumption and the setting of certain tangible objectives.

It is necessary to know the starting point and calculate exactly how much water they use. For this, the hotels need to install meters and perform regular readings of them. It is also convenient to install several meters to find the areas where more water is used. This measurement can then be transformed into economic terms. This way the hotel management will understand any effort to save water more as an investment than as an obligation.

Developing strategies for each area

After knowing the volume consumed, the second step is to establish guidelines to follow. If, for example, a hotel has large gardens, it must develop strategies aimed at improving water conservation. In this sense, one of the key factors is the irrigation system.

If it wants to reduce water consumption in the hotel it must know what kind of vegetation it has. By knowing the characteristics of the flora, the hotel management can know how much water they need and how often. It will allow them to establish patterns of action that avoid excessive risks.

Controlling and reducing water consumption

After setting the guidelines to follow, the third step is to control and try to reduce the use of water. For this, there are several systems that allow water to be saved in hotels continuously. Incorporating low consumption systems into the facilities, such as toilets with low capacity tanks, aerators in taps or shower heads with low flow, will considerably reduce the amount of water used.

Maintaining the correct functioning of the facilities

After integrating systems or mechanisms of low water consumption into the hotels, it must ensure that they work correctly. It is essential, when reducing water consumption, to ensure that these are always in optimal conditions. By checking them periodically, the hotel management will be able to prevent the appearance of leaks or inefficiencies, as well as possible breakdowns that produce an effect contrary to the desired one.

Optimizing the use of systems

In addition to having efficient systems, the hotel management must optimize their use. If they analyze the case of laundry services, it is essential to perform a proper planning that allows them to control the time spent as well as consumption without ever neglecting customer service.

In this way, the hotel management must ensure that the devices work as efficiently as possible. In this case, that the washing machines are fully charged. With these measures, in addition to reducing water consumption, it will be able to reduce other associated costs. These are, for example, the amount of detergent used as well as the electricity consumption.

Training the workers

All the previous steps will not take effect if the hotel management does not educate and raise awareness among its employees. Therefore, it should encourage actions and attitudes in workers to show ethical behavior. The human factor is critical when undertaking any improvement action in our organization.

The hotel management must train them in water conservation. The workers must be constantly informed about improvements or changes. They should be encouraged to incorporate guidelines to follow for responsible consumption within their routines and activities. In the same way, the hotels must implement mechanisms or systems that allow them to receive feedback.

They can then know which processes work and which do not, in order to make corrections and timely changes.

Responsiibility of Travelers

1. Book your stay at one of the hotels that optimize the use of water, treat their wastewater, protect local water resources and involve their guests and local communities in their sustainability efforts.

2. Inform the hotel staff that you are willing to reuse your towels and sheets. It is likely that you do not change your sheets and towels daily at home, so why do it when you travel?

3. Resist the temptation to take the shampoo and soaps when you leave the hotel. Many hotels clean plastic bottles of these products and fill them with shampoo, conditioner and bath soap from larger containers. (These bottles may seem disposable but, usually, they are not).

4. If you are traveling to a region where the quality of the water is doubtful, take with you some medication to sterilize it, like iodine tablets and a reusable water bottle. Is this not an option? Buy a big water container at a local store and use them to refill your personal bottle, instead of buying small disposable bottles.

5. Are you planning a long trip? Reuse clothes that do not get so dirty during the day and wash by hand in a sink or stack instead of the hotel's washing machines. It will be lighter and dry quickly.

6. Do not ignore a tap that has a leak. Ask the hotel's maintenance staff to fix it. They will be very grateful for the warning and you will be making a big difference.

7. Take short showers and completely avoid using the tub for bathing. (Would not you rather spend more time exploring the surroundings than in the bathroom?)

8. Deposit trash in the proper containers and avoid contaminating nearby oceans, lakes, rivers, and streams.

9. Consume foods grown and harvested locally. This will reduce the water that is required for transportation.

10. Minimize the use of electricity. Do not turn on the lights when the sun shines through your windows, nor leave the TV on when you are busy with other things. According to some reports, for every gallon of water used in an average household, five times the same amount is used to provide that house with electricity.
Kalyan Panja