Implementing a Water Conservation Program at Your Hotel

By Russ Horner Co-founder, Water Management, Inc. | March 10, 2013

In the last 30 years, water and sewer rates have increased faster than even the cost of oil. The typical busy hotel manager and engineer has an overflowing plate and now they must add the management and reduction of water and waste water costs. In this article, we will look at:

  • The rising cost of water bills
  • Water use benchmarks for hotels
  • Getting started, and
  • An introduction to new national codes, standards and rating systems that will impact hotel operations.

Future articles will drill down into actual ways to reduce water use, techniques to calculate payback, and ways to make water efficiency work for them.

Rising Costs

Silently, almost out of notice, water and wastewater costs have been skyrocketing. As the following graph shows, water and wastewater rates nationally have risen even faster than oil over the last thirty years, and based on recent trends, this increase is not slowing down. Many hotel managers are finding that becoming more water efficient is a very effective way to improve their bottom line.

According to the Earth Policy Institute, between 2002 and 2007, municipal water rates increased an average of 27 percent in the United States, 32 percent in the United Kingdom, 45 percent in Australia, 50 percent in South Africa, and 58 percent in Canada. This is a worldwide trend.

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Coming up in March 2019...

Human Resources: An Era of Transition

Traditionally, the human resource department administers five key areas within a hotel operation - compliance, compensation and benefits, organizational dynamics, selection and retention, and training and development. However, HR professionals are also presently involved in culture-building activities, as well as implementing new employee on-boarding practices and engagement initiatives. As a result, HR professionals have been elevated to senior leadership status, creating value and profit within their organization. Still, they continue to face some intractable issues, including a shrinking talent pool and the need to recruit top-notch employees who are empowered to provide outstanding customer service. In order to attract top-tier talent, one option is to take advantage of recruitment opportunities offered through colleges and universities, especially if they have a hospitality major. This pool of prospective employees is likely to be better educated and more enthusiastic than walk-in hires. Also, once hired, there could be additional training and development opportunities that stem from an association with a college or university. Continuing education courses, business conferences, seminars and online instruction - all can be a valuable source of employee development opportunities. In addition to meeting recruitment demands in the present, HR professionals must also be forward-thinking, anticipating the skills that will be needed in the future to meet guest expectations. One such skill that is becoming increasingly valued is “resilience”, the ability to “go with the flow” and not become overwhelmed by the disruptive influences  of change and reinvention. In an era of transition—new technologies, expanding markets, consolidation of brands and businesses, and modifications in people's values and lifestyles - the capacity to remain flexible, nimble and resilient is a valuable skill to possess. The March Hotel Business Review will examine some of the strategies that HR professionals are employing to ensure that their hotel operations continue to thrive.