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7 February2018

by Greg Cooke

Despite the drought visitors should be assured that Cape Town is and will continue to be both a viable and an incredible tourist destination. The message is clear – Cape Town is open for business.

The Western Cape of South Africa is experiencing a drought due to three consecutive years of lower than average rainfall. The current situation creates innovative solutions – Government, citizens and the private sector are stepping up to the challenge to ensure visitors are not affected and can book with confidence.

The Facts

  • UPDATE: Dams supplying water to Cape Town have risen significantly and consistently, with the overall capacity now at around 70%, the highest level in over two years. The combination of innovative and collaborative saving efforts throughout the country, together with significant levels of rainfall, have put the region in a stable position. Cape Town will not run out of water and continues to implement water saving technologies. The City of Cape Town and its citizens have responded incredibly positively to the situation and continue to use water responsibly – a model for many cities in the world.
  • The drought is regionally specific and has not affected the rest of South Africa. Just 90 minutes away from Cape Town in popular destinations such as Hermanus, there are no water restrictions whatsoever;
  • Nearby farming communities have contributed 10 billion litres to alleviate the situation;
  • Day Zero is the hypothetical day when dam levels might fall below 13.5% and Cape Town residents would be restricted to 25litres of water per day in order to ensure that the dams do not run dry. It is NOT the day that Cape Town runs out of water;
  • Even in the unlikely event of Day Zero visitors will still be able to enjoy the diverse and world-class experiences Cape Town and the Western Cape have to offer;
  • International tourists account for just 1% of water usage In Cape Town during peak season;
  • 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;
  • Cape Town has already managed to bring down water consumption from pre-restriction levels of 1.1 billion litres a day to current consumption of 585 million litres per day;
  • A new desalination plant in the V&A Waterfront produces 2 million litres of water per day;
  • The new desalination plant will be one of a network of 8 desalination plants spread across the city. The plants will together provide 108 million litres of water per day;
  • 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.

The Media

Much of the hype around the drought has been to ensure citizens are aware of the situation and that everyone is doing what they can to reduce consumption. A side effect of this awareness campaign has been a number of sensationalist headlines in the international press and ‘fake news’ about civil unrest.

It is important not to lose perspective in light of these headlines. Cape Town is not unique: droughts regularly affect dozens of top international tourist destinations. And many top destinations exist in far more severe climates.

Your Stay

While all Cape Town hotels, bars and restaurants have taken extensive measures to reduce their water consumption, tourists are encouraged to be mindful of the situation and to play their part in the water conservation initiative.

Cape Town hotels remain confident of delivering an experience commensurate with that experience offered before drought conditions and as such cancellation policies remain unchanged. Although guests are asked to be mindful, their overall stay will not be affected and we look forward to welcoming international visitors to our remarkable city. South Africa has overcome many challenges in the past and will no doubt overcome this one. Now more than ever Cape Town needs the support of international tourists.

Circumstances are evolving daily. The city has set up a communication centre to deal with any queries which can be contacted by email to: water@wesgro.co.za

What we've done at The Royal Portfolio properties

At each of our properties guests are encouraged to do their part in alleviating the  water crisis.

As a group, one of our core values is to promote conservation and protect the environment. Our guests’ comfort, enjoyment and experience is paramount, however we make all our guests aware of the current situation and have put numerous systems in place.

The Silo Hotel

The Silo Hotel is located in the heart of Cape Town’s V&A Waterfront. This has been designated a ‘continuous water supply’ area, as many of the city’s popular tourist attractions are situated here.

Much of the water used at The Silo Hotel is non-potable water that is not part of the municipal supply. Our rooftop pool makes use of this resource.

Since March 2017 we have implemented extensive water saving processes and systems at The Silo Hotel which have drastically reduced our monthly consumption and will continue to do what we can to minimise our consumption and make our guests aware of the situation.

Birkenhead House

Birkenhead House in Hermanus is experiencing the lowest levels of water restrictions and as such, the guest experience is unaffected.

However, we remain vigilant and encourage our staff and guests to be conscious of their water consumption.

Royal Malewane

The drought is affecting the Western Cape Province of South Africa only and as such the high level of operations at Royal Malewane remain unchanged.

As part of our Purpose & Values however we continue to do our utmost to conserve water where possible.

La Residence

While Cape Town has been most affected by the drought, Franschhoek is also on the highest levels of water restrictions. At La Residence in Franschhoek, the estate is not connected to municipal water and operates on a borehole system, which significantly alleviates the challenges.

Water restrictions are likely to ease in a staged process imminently.

We are confident that our guests will continue to enjoy a wonderful experience at all of our Cape properties. We look forward to welcoming our guests and have no doubt that they will have a rich and rewarding experience in the Western Cape.

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Jane Styles
Jane Styles

Thank you for explaining the situation and for putting tourists contribution into perspective , easy to misunderstand from afar !
Your country is too special to miss and I hope it rains soon .

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