Together we can do more: Water

One thing I learned by experience when sailing around the world is that water is precious. While floating around on oceans of salt water but having only limited amounts of fresh water on board, it’s only when you are hauling drinking water from the village’s central tap and transporting it back to the boat in your dinghy that you realize how much 350 liters actually is.

That is however the real water volume each guest uses on average in Carlson Rezidor hotels per day (333 liters to be exact). Ranging from over 1,500 liters in the big resort hotels with plenty of landscaping, swimming pools and restaurants to less than 100 liters in Western Europe. 

Calculating this number is not so obvious, and, what it means at Carlson Rezidor may be not exactly the same as what it means in another hotel. For example, one may ask: Is rainwater consumption included? Or, how about the water consumption of the landscaping or laundry (in- or outsourced)? Or, the reporting unit may be totally different, for example total gallons per available room.

Quite difficult for any informed guest or travel booker to see the wood for the trees in all this green-numbers magic.

That is until now.

Thanks to the excellent collaborative and co-creative work of the International Tourism Partnership, the industry has come together and defined the Hotel Water Measurement Initiative (HWMI), a standard and free water footprint measurement tool for hotels.

There’s a multitude of benefits to the water footprinting tool HWMI:

  • It’s fee and easy to use
  • WYSIWYG: Anyone will know what is and what is not included in HWMI – the same measurement for the industry, anywhere.
  • Company experts like myself will have a more level playing field to compare our own properties.
  • The tools focuses on freshwater use and environmental impact, promoting renewables and responsible resource use.
  • Water quantity and quality are both under threat, and if these risks remain unaddressed, by 2030 demand for water will outstrip supply by 40%. By accurately measuring water footprints with HWMI, we can take more informed and focused action.

HWMI builds on the successful Hotel Carbon Measurement Initiative which was launched two years ago and used by over 24,000 hotels worldwide.

A wise man said: “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together.” I’m sure HWMI will help us to go far and make sure we are stewards of our water basins around the world, as multinational hotel groups or individual hotel properties.