The Impact of Tourism on the Drought

Water is a valuable commodity. It has been said that the third world war will be fought over water. It is a resource that is quickly running out, as Cape Town is set to become the first city to run out of water.

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The world has its eyes on the water crisis in the Cape with “day zero” looming. Fortunately, drastic cutbacks on water usage by Capetonian residents, businesses and the agricultural sector have secured a month’s extension on the taps running dry. The new “day zero” date has reportedly been set as 4 June 2018.

During such a time it is imperative that the hospitality and business sectors across the Cape do their part to save water. Cape Town thrives on its tourism industry, which supplies approximately 300 000 jobs. This valuable sector needs to do what it can to protect this workforce and ensure that tourists can visit the Mother City without fear of contributing to the water crisis.

To conserve fresh water, some hotels have filled their swimming pools with sea water. Hotels have also been recommended to encourage their guests not to bath but to take short showers instead. These showers should be set to low pressure. In hotels that do not have showers (and even those that do) it has been advised to save the bath (or shower) water to be used for flushing the toilet. However, the toilet should not be flushed every time; the city is having to ascribe to the old adage; “if it’s yellow, let it mellow”.

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According to industry expert, John J Coetzee, this is seemingly problematic with the health risks. “Large businesses, specifically in the industrial sector and in the hospitality sector, are dealing with the waste of hundreds if not thousands of people. These industries in turn need to take steps to ensure the health of themselves, their staff and their clientele – all while ensuring water is saved.”

Products which utilise specialised bio-enzymatic formulae, can be used to spray into the toilet or urinals to eradicate bad bacteria by means of the bio-enzyme technology, while removing malodours.

According to environmental scientist Kevin Winter, preemptive measures could have been taken. “The diversification of our water sources would have helped a whole lot… It is difficult to do that because you sometimes need these triggers to be able to change the budgetary system and be able to think differently about a long-term strategy”.

According to the department of Water Affairs’ weekly report, last week saw the dam levels in the Western Cape falling to 23.7% deepening the crisis in its critical stage.

As citizens and businesses take extra precautionary steps to preserve what little water is left, there is also a strong call on the rest of the country, and world, to do what it can to share resources.

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