Notices in hotels ask guests to conserve water in light of shortages

Air con more an issue than water for hotel guests, says manager

Zoran Varmuza, Duty Manager of Academy Plaza Hotel with a sign asking guests to conserve water. Photograph: Tom Honan

Zoran Varmuza, Duty Manager of Academy Plaza Hotel with a sign asking guests to conserve water. Photograph: Tom Honan

 

Overseas visitors to Ireland are more put out by the lack of air conditioning in hotels than the gentle requests for them to use less water during the ongoing drought, says one Dublin hotel manager.

Peter Collins, who runs the Academy Plaza just off the capital’s main thoroughfare O’Connell Street and who is also chairman of the Dublin branch of the Irish Hotels Federation, reckons most hotels are well equipped to deal with water restrictions.

Built in 1998, his 304-bedroom hotel, which will typically have between 500 and 550 guests every night over the coming weeks of peak tourist season, has two massive water tanks on site to allow it control its own flow and pressure.

A sign in the Academy Plaza Hotel asking guests to conserve water. Photograph: Tom Honan
A sign in the Academy Plaza Hotel asking guests to conserve water. Photograph: Tom Honan

The tanks are filled from the main network - Irish Water - usually during off-peak times. A pump system then distributes it around the hotel’s seven floors, meaning any reduced pressure from the city reservoirs can be managed internally.

Only the running water in the kitchens comes immediately from the mains supply.

Despite the reserves, guests from Ireland, UK, France, Italy, Germany, the US and Canada - “a good international mix” - checking into the three-star family-owned hotel over recent weeks are being asked “to be conscious” of water usage, says Collins.

“We are not telling them not to use the taps or not to shower or anything else but just to bear it in mind, so we can contribute our bit.”

Modern travellers are “quite green, eco-aware” and happy to do this as a positive step, he adds.

Notices on the lifts and in rooms also advise that Dublin City Council is asking people to conserve water in light of the shortage.

“We are passing on that message, without having guests worry that they won’t have water for a cup of tea in the morning - I don’t think we are going to get to such a stage that it will be so bad we will be rationing supplies. Hopefully not.”

And because hotels, like other businesses, have been paying for water for many years, conservation is nothing new, according to Collins

Aerating taps and showers, so they use less water, and low capacity toilet flushes are standard measures.

But while the bigger or more recently-built hotels are well set up to keep the taps flowing in drought periods, smaller or older hotels may be getting concerned if there is no let up in the dry conditions.

“Smaller hotels that might not have the same capacity for storing water would have bottlenecks in pressure, at seven, eight, nine o’clock in the morning, when people are getting up and having showers, when kitchens are washing up and everything else,” says Collins.

“So certainly the drop in pressure could have a knock on effect with them.

“We are keeping our eyes and ears to the bulletins, we are keeping abreast of it.

“While the system is limping along, there is still capacity for supply, if we all continue to take as much pressure off the system as we can.”

For now, he doesn’t see any hotels worried about water being cut off.

“The only things hotels are worried about at the moment is the heat,” he says.

“Many hotels don’t have air conditioning. There would be a lot of American guests maybe not expecting the heat levels. That is more of an issue than the water supply.”