A non-partisan, neutral perspective supporting diversity in the color of water

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Greywater Gets Glamorous

Big news on the west coast of the US - an ultra-luxurious Waldorf Astoria opened in Beverly Hills, CA at a cost of $200M for 170 guest rooms. I checked out the nightly rental on Orbitz hoping for a good deal and found one - $655 per night on Expedia.

Every guest room features floor-to-ceiling windows that open onto oversized private balconies. In public spaces, the property boasts a triple-height lobby with a contemporary Art Deco design, hand painted murals, art pieces, custom crystal chandeliers and elegant Lalique installations.

The LEED Gold hotel boasts Portuguese limestone on the exterior, and finishes such as cherry and sycamore wood, as well as antique bronze, Calacatta marble, Crema Marfil marble, and Noir Saint Laurent marble throughout the interior.

Hotel amenities include an iconic rooftop pool and terrace, three restaurants, a 5,000-sq-ft spa and salon, a private Rolls Royce house car offering complimentary drop-off service for guests, and 6,300 sq-ft of meeting spaces, including two ballrooms, and a greywater reuse system for landscape irrigation located beneath the parking garage.

Well, I am sold on the greywater reuse amenity. I might have to wait a long while until I earn additional Hilton Honors Points to stay in the Beverly Hills Waldorf.

But it is interesting to hear more and more of greywater reuse as a marketing ploy to get folks to stay at a spa or purchase expensive camping equipment like a $400,000 RV just to share your greywater with "nature".

Little is said about the water footprint of tourism. In this article titled Tourism and Water Use: Supply, Demand, and Security An International Review in Tourism Management, one learns that international tourism generally accounts for less than 1 per cent of national water use, but the number can be quite a bit higher for island destinations.

The existing literature suggests water consumption rates in a range between 84 to 2,000 L per tourist per day, or up to 3,423 L per bedroom per day....Because tourists use more water when on holiday, here estimated at an average of 300 L per day (direct water use), than at home (160 L per day), tourism increases global water use...and...The amounts of sewage and wastewater generated by tourism can be large, as tourism is usually concentrated in comparably small areas. 

The authors provide some food for thought:

In order to adapt to inevitable changes in water availability, as well as to mitigate its own contribution to climate change and its pressure on limited water resources, tourism needs to engage in energy- and water management, focusing on policy (e.g. compliance with national greenhouse gas reduction goals, building codes, measurement and charging of water consumption), management (e.g. including measures to reduce water use, treat sewage and reuse water), research and development (e.g. to implement renewable energy-driven desalination; understanding the religious, philosophical and ethical issues of wastewater recycling and reuse), as well as education and behavioural change to encourage tourists and staff to engage in water saving measures.

Interesting article on another often overlooked aspect of water resources management.
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“I sat on a toilet watching the water run thinking what an odd thing tourism is. You fly off to a strange land, eagerly abandoning all the comforts of home and then expend vast quantities of time and money in a largely futile effort to recapture the comforts you wouldn’t have lost if you hadn’t left home in the first place.” 
~Bill Bryson, Neither Here nor There: Travels in Europe

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