On June 1, the City of Cape Town (CoCT) follows in Eskom’s infamous electricity loadshedding footsteps and plans to introduce watershedding. Poor planning and management means that Capetonians will be inconvenienced and suffer hardships, but what does it mean for the Province’s tourism industry — its economic lifeblood?
Visiting Cape Town — and many of the towns in the Province — for a dirty weekend or holiday could take on an entirely new connotation! The biggest challenge is that no-one knows what to expect. Will the water supply that allows a shower only last a few hours a day with a lifeline trickle at other times? Which areas might have to rely on water tankers alone?
The CoCT doesn’t know or hasn’t communicated this. In our story If dams go dry – what it means for tourism in Cape Town they didn’t respond to our queries. Or more accurately, they did respond but failed to deliver on an undertaking to provide information. The mayor keeps blaming the worst drought in 100 years… but the CoCT has been emphasizing Climate Change for a decade, and should know that every drought forwards will be worse than the last one!
The challenges are twofold:
- Saving water dramatically and finding alternative sources. Water isn’t like electricity where you can just buy a generator and plug it in. But you can buy a rainwater tank for when the rain does come.
- Managing perceptions, expectations and inconveniences — which is going to be especially critical for the tourism & hospitality industries.
In our previous story we heard what hotel groups like TsogoSun have already done to save water — reuse of greywater, low-pressure shower heads with aerators, etc. And the V&A Waterfront is the world leader in Sustainable Development. Click here for their water-saving measures since 2009.
Cape Town Tourism’s CEO spoke about innovative ways of managing perceptions: “Some of our members have also incentivized visitors to reduce their water consumption in exchange for discounts or free drinks or dinner.”
We’ve also heard of hotels and guest houses removing the bath plugs, to encourage people to shower. (If you have to bath, a bath plug can be requested at reception.)
So please share your tips for saving water and managing the perceptions and experiences of guests. No matter where you are in the world or what you’ve seen elsewhere in the world, we want your tips!