Ultimately, not only do we want guests to have every indulgence at Cape Grace, but we want to achieve this in the most responsible and sustainable way possible.
The Western Cape is experiencing a drought due to three consecutive years of lower than average rainfall.
Early winter rains have graced the precious Cape and brought some much-needed relief to our dams. As reported by AfricaWeather, several areas across the Cape recorded over 100 mm of precipitation in four weeks – comfortably more than the average rainfall for Cape Town in May. The month of June received 23% more than its monthly average. The sustained winter rainfall has seen dam levels in the Western Cape continue to rise this year. The dams feeding the City of Cape Town are now at 70%‚ compared to 37.5% in 2017. We hope for the rainy trend to continue!
While we celebrate each and every light shower or heavy downpour, we have a long way to go until we are in the clear. As such, water restrictions will remain in place until our dams reach the 85% capacity required to lift the curtailment.
Despite the drought, we want to confidently assure our travel partners and guests that it is business as usual. All care has been taken to ensure that our guests will continue to experience every indulgence in the most responsible and sustainable way.
We have compiled a list of frequently asked questions and trust that this will assist you regarding the way forward.
Water Crisis Frequently Asked Questions:
What is “Day Zero”?
“Day Zero” is the hypothetical day when dam levels might fall below 13% and Cape Town residents would be restricted to 25 litres of water per day in order to ensure that the dams do not run dry. According to the City of Cape Town, “Day Zero” will not take place this year, or for the foreseeable future.
How prepared is Cape Grace for “Day Zero” and beyond?
Cape Grace is fully prepared for the unlikely eventuality of “Day Zero”, as a result of close collaboration with both the V&A Waterfront and the City of Cape Town.
- A new desalination plant in the V&A Waterfront is currently adding 3 million litres of water per day to our city’s supply.
- The new desalination plant is one of a network of 3 desalination plants spread across the city. The city’s first temporary desalination plant came online and the plant will eventually produce seven million litres daily.
- Cape Town’s city centre has been designated a ‘continuous water supply’ area which means that the impact of a potential “Day Zero” will be minimal on international visitors. There has been communication from the City of Cape Town informing that businesses in the CBD and V&A Waterfront will enjoy continuous water supply.
How will guests be impacted?
We want to assure our travel partners and guests that their holiday experience will not be jeopardised as a result of the drought. We are, however, making guests aware of our water-saving endeavours upon check-in.
Amongst a variety of initiatives, guests are encouraged to:
- Limit shower times
- Flush toilets less often or make use of greywater.
- Reuse towels
- Not use bathtubs
- Use the gifted hand sanitiser presented on arrival.
Water restrictions came into effect from the 1st of February 2018, limiting the daily water consumption to 50 litres per person. We kindly request our guests to adhere to this.
What measures do you have in place to reduce water consumption?
We have been implementing supportive measures to protect this precious commodity since 2016, and continue to do so in light of the Western Cape’s water crisis. Despite these alterations, we remain confident of delivering an experience commensurate with experiences offered before drought conditions.
- Communication to guests on arrival, requesting assistance.
- Collateral has been placed in all bathrooms, encouraging the reduction of water usage.
- Hand sanitizer is gifted to each guest during the course of their stay, reminding them of the need to conserve water.
- Low-flow showerheads and aerators have been fitted on taps to reduce the flow of running water.
- Pressure reducing valves have been placed on the hot and cold water feeds into each individual room.
- Screens have been placed on all cooling towers to reduce spillage and evaporation.
- Local water-wise plants are visible throughout the hotel and grey water is used to irrigate gardens.
- Bath plugs have been removed in an effort to further reduce water usage. For travelers with little ones, we have Baby Dams – a baby bathing system that dramatically reduces water consumption.
- Water-based treatments have been removed from the Spa.*
- Our swimming pool has been treated with an oil-based liquid called Heatsavr, a liquid pool blanket which is non-toxic and non-harmful to the environment. It acts as a natural oil insulation, minimising evaporation. No municipal water is used to top up the pool.*
- Our external laundry supplier has invested in a water recycling system that serves to drastically reduce the amount of water they use while rendering their laundry services. This system allows them to re-use and purify between 75 to 80% of their water continuously, thus allowing them to not be dependent on municipal water.**
Does Cape Grace have its own water supply?
We have supplemented our water supply with the installation of a ‘Water from Air’ machine. This is an innovative device which has been designed to produce potable drinking water from the surrounding atmosphere in limited quantities.
Will you have water for guests staying at your hotel?
Yes, we have water available for our guests during their stay.
Will there be drinking water?
Yes, we have adequate supplies of bottled drinking water for our guests.
Are you suggesting to travelers to bring bottled water of their own?
The drought and subsequent water restrictions are primarily limited to the City of Cape Town and surrounding areas. Nearby regions are less impacted and the supply of bottled water is therefore not at risk.
Will guests have to pay for tap water?
No, our guests are not required to pay for tap water.
Will guests be able to shower?
Guests will be able to shower and maintain daily hygiene. Recommended guidelines suggest a shower of 90 seconds. The use of baths is entirely discouraged.
Will guests be able to bath their children?
Yes, for travellers with little ones, there are Baby Dams – a baby bathing system that dramatically reduces water usage.
Will the laundry service be available to guests during their stay?
Yes, our external laundry supplier has invested in a water recycling system that serves to drastically reduce the amount of water they use while rendering the laundry services. **
Do guests have access to the pool or spa?
Yes, both the pool and spa are fully operational. *
Should potential guests postpone their trip to Cape Town to 2019?
No. The impact of tourism on water consumption is insignificant compared to the benefit that tourism brings to the city – tourism directly creates 320,000 jobs and brings with it around R40 billion in investment each year.
Has the drought altered the cancellation policy?
We remain confident of delivering an experience commensurate with that offered before drought conditions and as such cancellation policies remain unchanged.
Will guests be required to pay a special tax during their visit to Cape Town?
No, our guests will not be required to pay any special tax due to the drought.
In our endeavour to reduce our carbon footprint and lessen energy resources, we have switched to LED lights and have insulated our pipes and boilers. With large windows throughout the hotel and administrative areas, we continue to encourage the use of natural light and air flow, thereby limiting the use of air-conditioning.
Our recycling initiatives ensure that we dispose of or reuse a large part of our waste. Kitchen oil is transformed into bio-diesel, flower refuse is converted into compost and our on-site waste-sorting area minimises dumping and landfill contributions. Disused computers, laptops and software components are donated to an E-waste company and environmentally sensitive bulbs and batteries are disposed of appropriately.
As we continue to grow, we look forward to increasing our number of projects, broadening our reach and investment into the environment and communities that surround us.