Water scarcity is a recognised global problem, with demand for water projected to exceed supply by 40% by 2030.
What’s the issue?
Demand for fresh water is likely to outstrip supply by 40% by 2030 and a third of the world’s population will be living in areas of severe water stress by this time. In most countries, water consumption per guest in hotels vastly exceeds that of the local population. Island nations and tourism destinations can be those most prone to water shortage, particularly where the tourism season coincides with the driest months.
Excessive use will mean water shortage becomes a problem – operational and cost - for hotels much quicker and could create reputational risk if a hotel is seen to be taking water from other users, in particular local communities. What is more, the hotel sector is seen as lagging behind other industries in its approach to water stewardship. We’re behind and we need to act. 2030 is not far away.
What is ITP doing?
ITP commissioned a Water Risk Assessment Report to better understand local water conditions and risks in key development areas. This local intelligence has enabled members to develop appropriate strategies and responses in these areas. Through a dialogue convened with key stakeholders and specialists in 2014, members have also had the chance to explore the issues, challenges and opportunities the sector faces.
The output of this is greater understanding and a commitment to collective action to measure, report on and reduce water consumption. ITP members have now convened a working group to develop a methodology to measure and report on water consumption in a consistent manner across the hotel industry – the Hotel Water Measurement Initiative.
'Water is life'. This is especially true in water scarce areas. Tourism is growing precisely in areas where water is or will become scarce. In these locations we need to consider and balance the rights of all users: local community, agriculture, eco-systems.
That is why we need to look at minimizing water use in operations and also look 'beyond the hotel door' to engage with stakeholders and the local community.
Inge Huijbrechts, Vice President Responsible Business, The Rezidor Hotel Group
What can I do next?
You can’t manage what you don’t measure, so fit water meters and start taking action. Our Risk Assessment Report, Know How Guide, manuals and best practice case studies outline many simple and cost effective actions you can take, using technology and training in siting and design through to operations. Get informed about the water challenges in your area – Aqueduct and the Panda Water Risk Filter are excellent risk assessment tools. Work with local authorities, businesses and communities to ensure you pull together to reduce consumption and ensure equitable access for all.