Water sources are becoming more scarce worldwide, which provide a first reason to implement initiatives to reduce consumption. In Cambodia, water management presents its own set of challenges. Cambodia is highly reliant on fresh water (from the Mekong river and Tonlé Sap Lake) rather than water from its costal areas. However, these two main water sources are becoming threatened due to climate change as well as increasing demand from the population and diverse industries.
In addition, the tropical climate of Cambodia and neighbourhood countries where Cambodia import some of its water poses some issues due to the period of droughts, which are becoming more and more intense and uncertain due to climate change. This is why it is important for tourism businesses to consume water sparingly for their own long-term survival and the good of the country.
There are several quick and easy action you can take to reduce water consumption:
~ Implement a bed-linen and towel reuse programme for guests to reuse them. Find poster template to put in rooms here to communicate to your guests.
~ Collect and use grey water (from bathrooms, kitchen, swimming pool, kitchen, landscaping, etc.)
~ Ask staff to report any leaks (cleaning staff for the toilets; showers; taps, maintenance staff for the pool, etc) and fix them. Leaks can make you lose hundreds of dollars per year if not properly fixed
~ Check for leaks as the pool: this is best done by reading water meters last thing at night and first thing in the morning.
~ Install low-flow or dual flush toilets
~ Run washing machine and dish-washer only when fully loaded
~ Use automatic water taps
~ Water the garden/plants during late afternoon/evening to prevent evaporation
~ Use native plants as they often need less water
~ Place wood chips and compost on the floor as it helps to keep moisture i the soil
Why should you assign someone responsible for your finance but not for your environmental initiatives? The same logic applies here, by having one or several staff members in charge, you ensure that at least one person has ownership over the actions taken.
Who likes working without goals? By setting targets to reduce your water consumtion (e.g. reduce non-organic waste to x kg/week by the end of 2019) you can get momentum going and focus from your staff to achieve the objectives. Why not providing rewards to your staff when these targets have been achieved to motivate your employees even more?
Taking actions won't work if you don't explain your staff why you are implemeting such initiatives and what are the tasks they need to complete. Whether you are training your staff yourself or find a third party to do it for you, don't forget this important step!
Guests can help you a long way reduce your water consumption, by taking shorter showers or by reusing bed linen and towels. You can advertise it in the rooms and in your website, which could benefit you as many customers like to know that the facility they are visiting is reducing its environmental impact.
Monitoring will ensure that your actions are paying off and will allow you to rectify in case the amount of water you produce does not go down. It will also help you see whether your targets have been acheived!