Saving water in the Western Cape

As Cape Town navigates the current water shortage, here is an important message to help clarify the situation with regard to its effect on tourists who are planning on visiting the Mother City.

Cape Town and the Western Cape are open for business in spite of the current drought. Visitors are arriving in a place with a significant breadth and depth of experiences and exceptional beauty. However, as beautiful as it is, the Western Cape is a water-scarce part of the world (much like Southern California and Western Australia) and is vulnerable to the effects of climate change and is susceptible to periodic droughts. At present the Western Cape is experiencing a significant drought. To counter the short-term effects of the drought, the City has put in place a number of initiatives to increase the supply of water and make provision for extreme water shortages.”

It is also important for people who are planning a trip to the Western Cape to understand the following…

Tourism plays an important role in the region’s economy, with visitors spending annually almost R40bn and supporting approximately 300 000 direct and indirect employment opportunities.

Relative to households and industry, tourists use very little water because they make up such a small part of the resident population of the Western Cape and therefore have a relatively limited impact on water resources. International tourists to Cape Town add around 1% to the population over the course of the year. If you add domestic tourists, this number increases to 2.4% and, even at the peak of the season, tourists make up less than 5% of the population of the city.

To read more on the current situation and what visitors can do to help, you can download this PDF containing important information from leading Cape Town authorities.  

How Tsogo Sun is helping

Tsogo Sun is committed to saving water at our hotels in Cape Town and we have successfully introduced several measures in order to do so. These include:

  • Installing aerators and flow restrictors on all taps, as well as low-pressure shower heads.
  • Reducing the frequency of replacing linen and towels.
  • Replacing linen serviettes in our restaurants with good-quality paper serviettes.
  • Removing all bath plugs from guests’ rooms.
  • Using non-potable water for the washing of windows when required.
  • Constantly monitoring water usage against certain targets through specific dashboards.

Over and above these steps we have taken, we have made arrangements to have water available for our guests through alternative water augmentation such as boreholes and by installing a desalination plant. This will enable us to, in close consultation with the City of Cape Town, take some of our largest properties off the water grid. The desalination plant will probably be on line within the next few weeks. The hotels that will be supported by the desalination plant include Southern Sun The Cullinan, Southern Sun Waterfront and The Westin Cape Town, which is owned by the Hospitality Property Fund, a subsidiary of Tsogo Sun Holdings.

All guests and operators can be reassured that Tsogo Sun will honour all confirmed hotel bookings. We will continue to consult with all relevant stakeholders, particularly the City of Cape Town, with a firm focus on implementing all recommended measures to address the current water shortage crisis.

We will continue to keep you updated about how we are helping to save water.

Useful water saving tips

  • Take short, stop-start showers. The recommended length of time for a shower is 90 seconds or less.
  • Only flush the toilet when you really need to.
  • Don’t leave the tap running while you brush your teeth and wash your hands.
  • Reuse towels and bedding as much as possible. 

For more useful resources please click here.