When clean water flows at the turn of a tap, it’s all too easy to take it for granted. But, there are still 771 million people globally who don’t have access to clean water close to home.1 With World Water Week – the leading conference on global water issues – underway, talk has turned to how we can tackle this immense challenge – and the power of the hospitality industry to enact change.
As the climate crisis and extreme weather events threaten clean water sources around the globe, it’s more vital than ever to use the water that we have wisely. By being good water stewards, those in hospitality can do their bit to protect this most precious of resources, and help ensure that everyone, everywhere has access to it.
What is water stewardship?
Water stewardship is about more than just reducing the amount of water consumed. It’s about ensuring that water is managed as responsibly as possible to reduce environmental impacts and support fair access for all. Good water stewards recognise the need for collective responses to the complex challenges facing the water resources we all rely on.2
In some locations 8x more water is used by tourism than by the local population.3
In an industry as water intensive as hospitality, there are plenty of opportunities to put this into practice. From growing and cooking food, and making beer, wine and spirits, to laundry and cleaning, and keeping staff hydrated, water keeps every part of the industry flowing. Even down to the water placed on tables and in rooms, the industry can make a difference by choosing water-saving, ethical options with no compromise on taste.
Case study - WaterAid and Belu fly the flag for water stewardship
Since 2007 Belu – a UK-based drinks business that puts people and the environment first – have been empowering their customers to do just this. By providing filtration solutions, following the principles of a circular economy, maximising the use of recycled materials, and donating their net profits to WaterAid, Belu and their customers are showing how the hospitality industry can have a significant positive impact and be good water stewards.
Stocked in hotels, restaurants and bars, Belu’s customer base is helping fly the flag for better water stewardship. Since they were founded, Belu have donated over £5.2 million to WaterAid supporting projects in 28 countries to bring clean water, decent toilets and good hygiene to millions of people. In this time, 90,506,914 bottles have been recycled into Belu bottles, saving waste from landfill and helping protect water sources from pollution.
By partnering with organisations like WaterAid, industry members can also share the impact of their actions with their customers, with powerful stories showing what good water stewardship can achieve. Using messaging across the customer journey can help customers feel like their stay in a hotel, or trip to a restaurant, is not just enjoyable for them but is contributing to a better future for us all.
More ways to use water responsibly
There are many other ways that the industry can lead the way in water stewardship and serve as a shining example to other sectors. In fact there are opportunities at all points in the supply chain. These include:
- Using seasonal ingredients and building menus around ingredients that are less water-intensive to produce – this can save significant amounts of water.
- If facilities allow, rainwater harvesting can be used to collect water for flushing toilets and watering plants.
- Choosing water-efficient toilets, showers and cleaning and laundering services for hospitality venues can help save not only litres of water but also energy usage.
- Choosing filtration and refill options for water rather than single use provides delicious filtered water whilst minimising waste which helps protect our water sources from pollution, and also helps reduce emissions from deliveries.
- Recognising that your water use has an impact on the local community by engaging with existing initiatives to support access to clean water, health and sanitation
Becoming good water stewards is an investment in all our futures, and for the millions of people around the world who still don’t have access to clean water, our collaborative actions could be lifesaving.
Find out more about Belu and WaterAid’s partnership here.