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Five-stars Squeeze More Water From Every Drop  
Source:   The Times of India City   : Mumbai Published On   27-10-2009  


Five star hotels, which had to bear the brunt of the water cuts this year, have drastically cut down consumption by adopting a systematic approach to water conservation.

Luxury and business hotels have large water requirements for landscaping and swimming pools, but recent data obatined under a recent Right to Information RTI application revealed that annual water consumption of hotels in the island city reduced from 7.95 lakh kilo litres kl in the 2007-08 financial year to 7.38 lakh kl in the 2008-09 financial year. In the suburbs, star hotels total consumption fell to 10.52 lakh kl in 2008-09 compared to 11.63 lakh kl the previous year.

BMC officials said that water consumption of five-star hotels saw a dip last year as most of them relied on private tankers for supply. It is a known fact that the tanker syndicate supplies water at a lower rate than our commercial rates. Most hotels depend on tankers for filling water in swimming pools and for other facilities like jacuzzis and spas, said a senior BMC official.

But data shows that over 50 star hotels in Mumbai have managed to cut their average water consumption per room itself, from 1,600 litres to just around 1,000 litres, way below their counterparts in Delhi. According to a recent government survey, an average room in a five-star hotel in Delhi still consumes 1,600 litres of water every day.

Though many would attribute the drop in hotels water consumption to fewer occupancy owing to the 26/11 strikes and the global meltdown, several hotels have turned to water-efficient equipment, waste-water recycling systems and rainwater harvesting and other innovative methods. Some hotels have been placing an appeal card in guest rooms with a gentle request to allow housekeeping to wash the bed linen and towels on a two-day basis as against the old practice of changing them daily.

The Taj hotels, India largest hospitality chain, last August launched the Earth Environment Awareness and Renewal at Taj Hotels to boost sustainable tourism and integrate environment management across its business areas.

Several of its 100-odd properties have been investing in various water-saving methods and the latest that plans to do so is Taj President. Says Taj President’s general manager Pankaj Sampat, “We are looking to invest in a sewage treatment plant shortly. The plant, that could entail a capital expenditure of Rs 80 lakh, would recycle 20 kl of water, resulting in a saving of Rs 2,000-2,500 a day.”

Others like ITC, Hyatt, Leela and Le Meridian too have environment-friendly programmes to help conserve water. The Oberoi at Nariman Point for instance, has instructed its staff to avoid unnecessary flushing in toilets. Moreover, both the Taj and Oberoi have introduced other measures to save water like minimising leaks in pipes or valves in the hotel, installing low-flow aerators in the faucets of all guest rooms and shower heads in bathrooms.

Environment officer of Orchid Hotel, Akshay Gavai, pointed out that a hotel can do a lot to conserve water. Orchid Hotels has a sewage water treatment plant to make the water usable. We have also reduced the capacity of flushes in the loos and quantity in the showers, besides introducing times for water usage, said Gavai.


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