The spring tourist season is going to be a challenge for water-saving measures in Cape Town. With many dams still less than 35% full and the drought likely to worsen as summer approaches, the City has imposed level 5 water restrictions – the harshest to date. Domestic water use is now limited to 20 kilolitres per month, but the responsibility to save water and reduce consumption is not only for residents – it’s no different for anyone operating a tourist attraction.
Most tourists do some research about their destination before arriving, but not everybody. Many may be unaware that the Mother City is experiencing one of the worst droughts in history. So how can this mindset be changed?
Cape Point has wasted no time in doing its part, and it hasn’t taken much to make a big difference. These are some of the measures that’ve been implemented:
- Signs have been erected in all ablution facilities, warning visitors not to waste water. It’s a gentle way of reminding people that there is a water shortage and that they need to act responsibly. Most tourists don’t mind and are happy to comply.
- Cape Point has introduced an effluent system that recycles grey water, saved from hand basins and taps, for flushing toilets.
- Ablution facilities have been fitted with special taps which only turn on when pushed down and immediately switch off when released.
- All tap washers at the Two Oceans Restaurant have been replaced to ensure that there are no leaks – an inexpensive and small effort which could save significant amounts of water.
- The facility has also undergone leak-detection inspections.
- Staff have undergone water-wise training. This type of training does not have to be expensive. The City of Cape Town already has an extensive list of tips online and there are some organisations which will readily assist.
- The Two Oceans Restaurant is also urging patrons to drink bottled water, rather than water from taps. The restaurant’s bathroom has taps that are fitted with automatic sensors, which switch off when not in use.
- Cape Point does not have a borehole, but any available grey water will be used for watering gardens where necessary.
These efforts are paying off. Water meter readings show Cape Point is using less than half the amount of water it used before.
Cape Point is committed to responsible tourism and is working tirelessly to ensure this, without compromising tourists’ experiences. Water-saving initiatives will be reviewed as the drought situation changes.