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"We are geared to welcome tourists in Stellenbosch!"

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27 March 2018 [group_audience]
"We are geared to welcome tourists in Stellenbosch!"

The panel of local business people from the hospitality sector and representatives of the Stellenbosch Municipality and Council and Stellenbosch 360 who participated in the discussion were at the back, from the left: Deon Louw (Stel Mun), Joep Schoof (Spier), Craig Seaman (Devon Valley Hotel), Councillor Jan de Villiers and Jan Scannell (Chairman, Stellenbosch 360). In front are Alan Denman (Tour guide), Annemarie Ferns (Stellenbosch 360) and Annemien Kotze (Bonne Esperance).

PANEL DISCUSSION RE WATER SITUATION
"We are geared to welcome tourists in Stellenbosch!"

The unanimous outcome of the panel discussion on #WorldWaterDay on 22 March - held at a Stellenbosch 360 Networking Function at Stellenbosch Vineyards - is that Stellenbosch does not anticipate 'Day Zero' . On the contrary, Stellenbosch 360 is set to appease national and international tourism target groups, stating that the town and surrounds has sufficient water reserves to do business as usual, albeit with a few practical but comfortable adjustments to water-usage.

Water-saving reality
It was clear from the discussion that due to the prevailing weather conditions in the Western Cape and other drought-stricken parts of the country, the Stellenbosch Municipality had for some years planned and worked extensively to implement a far reahing long-term water rationalisation and savings plan. The following facts were conveyed at the function.

  • The Municipality had sunk various boreholes to reduce the town’s dependency on the water grid, have made a big difference;
  • Due to collective efforts Stellenbosch saved 50% water since the introduction of the water-savings measures - its water usage had been reduced from 40 megalitres to 20 megalitres per month;
  • Average water consumption had been reduced from 300 kilolitres to 110 kilolitres per month.

Furthermore, the fact that businesses and the inhabitants of Stellenbosch in general supported these initiatives and went into a 'water-savings mode', was also highlighted and appreciated.

Impact on tourism                                                                                                               The importance of a consistent and uninterrupted flow of tourists as a major source of employment in and around Stellenbosch was stressed. Unfortunately, the global coverage given to the Cape Town water sutuation also impacted negatively on Stellenbosch tourism. Therefore, the decision and appeal at the function that Stellenbosch 360 had to take immediate steps to communicate that Stellenbosch foresees no 'Day Zero' situation and indeed has sufficient water reserves to cater for all its tourism needs, by implementing small but practical water-saving measures.

Representatives from the Stellenbosch hospitality sector also pointed out the following realities they have to cope with and voiced certain practical suggestions:

  • Businesses in the hospitality sector had to invest in water-savings equipment and technology – some extensively;
  • CEO Joep Schoor pointed out that Spier spent more than R 4 million in this regard - also with a view to future sustainability. He stressed that dialogue with guests on the one hand and regularly measuring their water consumption on the other hand are both working well for them;
  • Annemien Kotze of Bonne Esperance also emphasised that visitors to guest houses have to be educated about the local situation. Fortunately they are responding positively to water-saving measurements;
  • New thinking and innovation regarding water usage are vital for the future;
  • One of the practical solutions to water-savings is to optimally use the different types of water (like grey water) 100% appropriately.

Deon Louw, Director of Engineering Services – including Water Services – at the Stellenbosch Municipality, responded positively to a question raised from the floor about penalties raised on guest houses about their so-called ‘over-consumption of water’ when catering for guests, their washing and other needs – especially during high-season periods. Mr Louw indicated that appeals in this regard can be conveyed to a special committee that will deal with these sympathetically.

Annemarie Ferns, CEO of Stellenbosch 360, concluded the networking function with a word of special congratulations and thanks to the Mayor and the Stellenbosch Municipality for their long-term pro-active and innovative water-savings measurements and the way that they have handled the whole so-called 'water crisis'.
 

Stellenbosch 360

Friends of Stellenbosch

Contact

E: info@stellenbosch360.co.za
T: +27 (0)21 883 3584
F: +27 (0)21 882 9550

Information Office:
36 Market Steet
Stellenbosch, 7600