Though Day Zero seems to be off the cards for Cape Town this year, The President Hotel continues to make water saving a priority.  We chatted with Jeremy Clayton of Turnkey Hospitality about how Day Zero has affected the hotel’s operations and the property’s plan to be off the water grid in 5 years.

How has Day Zero impacted the The President Hotel?

The water crisis has galvanised the greater Cape Town community into being more conscious and considerate of water usage. There is no doubt that this is starting to have a negative impact on local businesses, especially tourism, however, the silver lining is that as a whole the community, city, and the hotel staff are actively protecting and reducing the use of the world’s most important natural resource.

Now that Day Zero has been pushed back, do you still think it’s important to invest in water saving measures?

Whether Day Zero becomes a reality or not, it will always be important to be water conscious and to implement water saving initiatives. This is a precious resource that is vital to every aspect of our lives and the current water crisis gave us a taste of what it could be like to live with a limited water supply. This wakeup call helped us to realise how important it is to preserve and respect all our natural resources and the environment. That is why the President Hotel is so passionate about being eco-friendly, implementing self-sustainable water and energy initiatives, and to go off the grid within the next 5 years.

What is some of the advice and tips you can give to other hotels on how they should reduce water usage?

It is vital to continue to reduce our current water usage so that we can preserve this resource. All hotels in the area need to explore new water sources and educate staff and guests about the importance of saving this vital life source. I think there is a silver lining in having to deal with each of these challenges and the ultimate benefit of this drought will be that Capetonians become far more water savvy.

At the President Hotel, we have managed to reduce our overall water consumption by 40%, which is a great achievement, and recommend other hotels look at implementing similar measures such as:

  • Display creative reminders in all our toilets, showers and public restrooms to help reduce consumption
  • Encourage guests to take 90 second showers
  • Remove all bath plugs from rooms
  • Install waterless hand sanitisers and tap misters in the public restrooms
  • Place buckets in all guest showers to catch and recycle the water as greywater
  • Install aerated in all room washbasin taps and flow restrictor shower heads

Can you tell us more about how you plan to be off the grid in 5 years’ time?

The President Hotel’s long-term plan is to become fully self-sustainable from a water and electricity perspective to ensure a carbon neutral footprint. The water crisis has escalated the need to do this and we are well underway with the exploration phases required prior to drilling for and purifying groundwater.

Even once this is achieved, however, the importance of ensuring that water is conserved and used responsibly should never diminish and we strongly believe that all businesses need to do more to be “green” and reduce their carbon footprint.