Earlier this week, columnist Tom Eaten published a column in which he says he called a number of Cape Town hotels, pretending to be a tourist, and asking if he could bath. A number of hotels apparently told him “sure”.
One of those hotels – The Vineyard Hotel – has responded to his claims.
Over the last five years the Vineyard Hotel has invested millions in water-saving initiatives as a responsible business committed to operating in a sustainable manner.After a discussion with the mayor in February 2017, we brainstormed further measures to reduce our reliance on municipal water, which were instituted.
These have led to a further reduction – please read about some of these here. As a commercial property we have reduced our monthly water-usage by more than 30% – which is 10% more saving we have been asked to achieve compared to last year’s consumption figures. We see this as an ongoing process and will continue to seek ways to reduce this consumption at the Vineyard Hotel even further.
We were saddened to be included in Tom Eaton’s opinion piece. In concert with the efforts we have made to lower our water consumption, some of which are outlined in the web article link above, we have placed a huge amount of effort into educating our staff and guests about the water shortage.
We communicate with our guests in their rooms, in the elevators, in their welcome letters and through the staff. We are happy to say that most of our guests are enthusiastic to assist, including our international guests.
It is true that we have plugs available at reception – this is for the elderly and other guests (including parents of infants) who are physically unable to use the showers. Our reception staff know to discuss the water crisis with guests before providing a plug and they appeal to our guests to keep water usage to a minimum.
Every request for a plug is recorded so that we are able to fetch the plugs the next day. In October, out of all our residential guests, only 1% made such requests. The water saving collateral we place in rooms is unmissable, it explains the water crisis and requests that short showers be used instead – and every room has a shower timer provided for this purpose.
We have invited Tom Eaton to visit the hotel to experience our water-saving initiatives as a guest would, not via a phone call, and to allow us to show him the initiatives that happen behind the scenes. If he or anyone else, after visiting the hotel, our public restrooms and our in-room bathrooms, has ideas for where we can make further cuts, we would be very grateful to hear them and will endeavour to implement them.
Our team meets regularly to brainstorm ideas, the outcome of which results in further savings. Our grey water system will be online within the next two months – this will enable us to use grey water to flush all our toilets.
There are other imminent initiatives which we will announce as they come on line. We see this as an ongoing process of reducing our water usage and we will continue to implement further measures.
It is a pity Mr Eaton did not have the time to conduct a more in-depth investigation. While there is always more we can do, we feel the South African public and our fellow Capetonians have been given a very skewed impression of our sincere and concerted efforts to reduce our water consumption.